In History and Geography we are currently studying the Mid-Atlantic states. Today one of the assignments was to pick a person from a preset list and read up about them and then write about why they are famous. I knew when looking at the list who Genghis would pick just because he would think the name was cool.
If the name rings a bell but you can’t place why, let me give you a little refresher. Thurgood Marshall was the first African-American Justice of the US Supreme Court. Definitely a noteworthy accomplishment.
And then this happened.
‘Mommy, what is an African-American?’
“It is a more correct name for black people.”
‘What is a black person?’
“Um, really? Our neighbor, Mr Marshall is an African-American or a black man.”
‘Mr Marshall is dark brown, not black Mommy.’
I then went on to explain that much like we are considered white, even though we are not really white, African-Americans are also called black even though they are not really black. We talked about how there are different shades of skin coloring. Some white people may be really dark while some black people may be really light skinned. I am thinking the whole time that this entire conversation was a pretty incredible thing.
My 7 year old son doesn’t see people based on the color of their skin. He simply sees people. And we have succeeded in making sure that he knows it is what is on the inside that counts. We hear often that racism is taught and I was feeling very proud that he isn’t learning any of it from us.
And in true 7 year old fashion he ended my back patting session and jerked me back into reality with this little gem.
‘Oh, so Daddy is a light colored black man and the rest of us are white.’
Almost had it!