My husbands family's lineage is from Liberia. My family's lineage is from Germany and Sweden. Hence, our beautiful creamy tan-skinned children.
My hubby and I have never placed much emphasize on skin color. We rarely use the terms "white" and "black people. We taught our children that mommy's skin is "cream" or "peach" color and daddy's skin is "brown" color. Because when you look at us, I am not, in fact, "white" and daddy is not "black." We taught our kids that God made all different colors and shades in this world and we are all beautiful in His image.
Our emphasize has not been on the color of our skin. Our emphasize has been on loving and living for Jesus. Our identity is not found in what race we are. Our identity is found in Jesus Christ. That's just how we feel and how we raise our kids. We take pride in our families and where we come from, but our character, integrity, compassion and faith is what makes us who we are.
Our oldest daughter is 7 and recently, she watched Glory Road and 42 with her daddy and I. If you don't know, those are sports movies based on true events from the 40's and 50's in America. This has opened the door for many conversations.
Prior to watching these movies, she had experienced some things with being in a mixed race family. I have 5 children so when we go places, people stare. And comment. I usually get the typical, "You sure have your hands full!" One time I had a lady just staring at me and the kids at a store and finally she said, "Do you run a daycare?" I told her no. She said, "Oh! So, then you do foster care?" I told her no again. I said, "These are all MY children."
The other day, while perusing the toy aisle at Goodwill on a date with my oldest, Makkedah, there was a little girl looking at the toys in the aisle with us. She must have been 5 or 6 years old. She was looking at me and my daughter talking with eachother and she said, "Are you her mommy?" I said yes. And then she said to us, "Why are you different colors from each other?" I nudged Makkedah to answer her because I wanted to see her navigate this question. She replied to the little girl, "Because God can make families all different colors. My daddy has brown skin and my mommy has tan skin so I have the color of a little bit of both of them."
As we continued to shop, I asked her if those kinds of questions bothered her at all. She said, "No, it just makes me sad to think of how brown-skinned people were treated a long time ago." Yes hunny, that is very sad.
I then asked her if it made her feel any certain way that her and I did not have the same skin color. And she said "Nope! Does it make you feel you sad, mommy?" Oh no, my darling. God made us each perfectly the way we are.
As we watched 42 (the story of Jackie Robinson) with her later that evening, we hit pause a lot to talk about what was happening. Makkedah sat snuggled up on the couch with me, weeping. Tears were pouring out of her eyes as she watched the movie and saw how people treated Jackie, simply because he had a darker shade of skin. We got to talk about what the world used to be like and how it is today.
She even asked us if she would have been alive back in those days if people would have treated her like that too because she has darker shaded skin. It was an interesting conversation to have, as we didn't face anything like it before this point with our children. Seborn and I were touched that it meant something so deep to herthat she was emotional impacted and had compassion.
And it also reminded us to be so grateful for the freedom we have now. We've always talked about how mommy and daddy are different colors and that each of our kids is a perfect blend of both of us, and they always love hearing that.
And even through these wonderful new conversations, allowing them to ask and answering with grace, we continue to press into them how uniquely they have been created and that their identity is not found in the color of their skin but how they live their lives for Jesus and follow Him. It's in how they love Jesus and love others.
*Update- I don't want to raise them to "not see color." We are all different colors and shapes and sizes so that is silly to not acknowledge that. But I am raising them to not use our colors as a label and a stamp of who we are. But to look deeper and see so much more. But to see the beautiful masterpiece of Gods creation and His people of varying and gorgeous colors.