My mother-in-law is Hispanic. And my father-in-law is white. Their's is also a happy marriage. Many wonderful years together. Three children. Nine grandchildren. And you should see our family get-togethers. About 50 people or more. Some white. Some brown. And then you have the blond-haired, blue-eyed Hispanic children playing beside the brown-haired, brown-eyed white children. The guacamole is served beside the Thanksgiving turkey. Now that's what I call all American.
I am not racist. I don't really see color. I see wonderful people, made in God's image. And I believe our colors of skin bring spice to life. Much like different colors of hair and different colors of eyes. Skin color--brought to us by melanin--is just another expression of God's love for diversity. For heaven's sake, if we all looked the same, life would be boring. Just like if all flowers were red roses.
We are all human. Scientifically speaking, we are all labeled as the same race and species, whatever color we may be. It's not like we are breeding goats and puppy dogs here! We are all one race. All one beautiful set of people.
So I don't get all riled up when my daughter tells me that she likes the little black boy who comes over to play. She wants to marry him when she's older. He's a well-mannered child. Says "please" and "thank you." And doesn't fight with others. He plays kindly--gently with my younger kids--and I admire his parents for his disciplined upbringing.
"Oh really? You like him?"
It's a conversational tone. I imagine she will have many crushes over the years, and I doubt we will still be living here when she grows up. She may marry a black boy, a white boy, or a brown boy like her daddy. That's not a problem to me. What matters is his character. Will he love her and protect her and work to build a real relationship? Or will he cheat on her or beat her or tear her down with his words?
So today, she asks him, "Will you marry me when we grow up?"
He says to her, "Your mommy and daddy are white. My mommy and daddy are black. White people and black people don't mix."
She came to us crying. What child wouldn't? She was being rejected because she was white. Much like someone making fun of her freckles. Or her unruly hair. Nobody wants to be judged based on their physical characteristics.
This was her first time to face racism. I had hoped I would never have to tell talk to her about this. I would have loved to keep her innocent.
But here it was. Right in our own backyard. So TJ and I sat down to talk to her.
"That's not true. Mommy is white, yes. But daddy is brown," TJ says to her.
"Saying that black people and white people can't mix is like saying people with brown eyes and blue eyes can't mix. What difference does that make?" I add.
"None!" She is smiling now.
"Or like people with black hair and blonde hair can't mix. What difference does that make?"
"So what difference does it make what color skin you have?"
She runs back outside. "My daddy's not white! My daddy's brown!"
Oh the joys of parenting! Now I just have to convince her that sometimes 6 year old boys just aren't ready to commit to marriage.