“Racist” child me

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015

I remember being 11 years old and Mom was taking me to school after seeing my psychologist. I was in the 5th grade. I remember I was talking and I don’t remember what about and then I start talking about skin color and how others have it darker than others. I say my friend Ana has it darker than our neighborhood girl Marissa and I mention my other friend Ashia (Asia) having lighter darker skin color than them and somehow my mom starts yelling at me about it and I am left baffled why she is so upset. Mom is shouting at me about talking about their skin color and how dark it is and then I am too afraid to even speak to her because she got mad at me but I couldn’t understand why.

I realize now as an adult I was unwittingly being racist. But I was being literal because to me talking about skin color was no different than talking about hair color or eye color so would Mom get mad at me for talking about how brown someone’s hair is or mine or how black someone’s hair is or how blonde or how blue my eyes are and how blue someone’s else’s eyes are? I still feel that way to this day because why is it racist to mention skin color or how dark someone’s skin is or light?

Would you get mad at a five year old for talking about how dark someone’s skin is or how light? Would you raise your voice at them about it? My guess would be no because they are innocent and they are literal. Only way they can be racist is if they are taught that. But if they had never been taught that, then it’s innocent. I was 11 so that was probably the age where kids knew better but I was always behind in my development and at 11 years old I functioned at a level of a six or seven year old so would you get mad at a 7 year old for talking about skin color or a six year old? Was I even being hateful about these kids? No. So my mother over reacted to the topic and I am still not sure why she got so upset if she always knew I was innocent and literal.

But I was left there confused not even understanding why she got mad at me. Did I learn anything that day? No I did not. I only learned that I got my mother mad after talking about skin color. I was an adult when I figured this is why she got upset with me. After I had learned online how it’s considered racist to talk about skin color and referring someone as being dark or brown, I realized this is what I did at 11 unintentionally and I wasn’t judging them or being hateful, I was just talking about how different skin color is, some are darker than others and I think my mother just took it the wrong way. I still don’t understand why it’s considered racist but I don’t need to understand to not do it, I only know if I do it, people might think I am racist and get upset with me so do not talk about skin color unless I want to be accused of being racist and then wanting to defend myself by comparing it to hair color or eye color and how darker others have it with their hair and eyes.

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