I have always considered myself a person who is pretty colorblind when it comes to race. I don't remember my parents coming right out and saying that all people are the same under the skin, but they definitely lived it. We had an African-American foster child for four years and would have adopted her had my mom's best friend not adopted her instead (they were Af-Am and insisted to my mom that it would be better for them to have her). My very fist kiss at age 17 was with an exchange student from Mexico. After I went off to college I had serious romantic relationships with a guy who was African-American and one who was a Mexican citizen. I've had many non-white friends -- and family members -- over the years....anyway, I suppose the point I want to get across is that my children have never, ever heard a racist comment or joke at home, and would never have picked up any kind of racist attitude.
At the dinner table the other night, I was asking C how school is going and if she was making any new friends. She announced, "L is not my friend" and when I asked why not, she said, "Because, you know, she has dark skin and I don't like people with dark skin." I'm pretty sure my eyes bugged right out of my head. When I questioned her further, she said that touching her skin hurt her. I tried to tell her that was utter nonsense and that L was exactly the same kind of little girl she was, etc. etc., but she was having none of it. I brought up the fact that her aunt has darker skin than we do, as do her uncle and cousins, and her sister's godmother. She wasn't budging. She can never be friends with L because she just doesn't like people with dark skin. I was completely and totally at a loss as to what to say! I finally lamely said that I hoped she would never say anything like that to L because it would hurt her feelings. I'm completely baffled.
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