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Old 03-03-2016, 07:56 PM
 
17,933 posts, read 9,859,202 times
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My wife and I are medium-brown, but by the roll of genetic dice, my daughter is the same golden beige as my bi-racial son. We were in Hawaii during most of her elementary school, where her dark eyes, dark hair, and golden beige skin were common among her classmates and teachers--if anything, she was the "preferred" skin tone.

Then we moved to western Omaha, NE, as she entered the sixth grade. Unfortunately, we were not aware that she'd entered a veritable little hell of white children pointing out her darker skin. her fuller features. She's 28 now and still shows psychological scars. Don't underestimate the effects of media and other kids even today.

As others have said, you need to start a campaign right now to counteract the rest of society, especially where you're living. We're now in north Texas ourselves, and we see it's here, not just among whites but "colorism" is a rampant evil among people of color as well. Don't ignore it.
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Old 03-04-2016, 03:22 AM
 
Location: interior Alaska
3,981 posts, read 2,971,082 times
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This is in addition to the great advice in this thread about helping her to see her coloring and features as beautiful and correct, and counteract the colorism of our society -

Race/ethnicity aside, any kid may or may not grow up to have conventionally attractive features. So I think it is healthy to emphasis the great things a body can do, not just the aesthetics of it. To me "kind eyes" is much more lasting than "pretty eyes." A "contagious smile" is much more meaningful than a "beautiful smile." "Dancing legs" are more fun than "shapely legs." And so forth. The type of things a person can bring to the table even during awkward pimply stages and whatnot, you know?
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Old 03-04-2016, 04:42 AM
 
15,760 posts, read 13,187,771 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lieneke View Post
I understand teaching about nationality, cultural heritage, and other familial traditions, but not skin color. It wasn't until I had to fill out a marriage certificate that I learned my grandmother was born in Indonesia, and only then did it click that it explained why my skin is darker than my siblings and others. It made no difference to me then, and it makes no difference to me today. I'm thankful that no one sat me down at the age of 4 and lectured me about skin color and patterns.
Why is race a taboo topic but sex, predators, cultural heritage, disabilities, whatever else ok to talk about?

It actually says a lot that this is a taboo that you insist on calling "colorblindness".

And if your a quarter Indonesian, you likely passed your entire life and actually have no notion what it means to be a person of color. So good for you but you do your children a disservice when you refuse to teach them what race is and is not.
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Old 03-06-2016, 05:09 PM
 
2,198 posts, read 1,232,313 times
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I think you need to expose both girls to a wide variety of people (preferably irl, but also in images) who have different skin colors and racial/ethnic backgrounds. I wouldn't ignore her comments, and I wouldn't stress out about them, but I'd take it as a sign that she needs exposure to a more diverse population. It can be hard to feel different, and kids may have made innocent comments that are hurtful (e.g., "your skin is too dark and it looks funny") at the age she is. Or they may have made comments that were meant to be hurtful. In either case, your daughter obviously is realizing she's different from others in that way. She sees a mom like her, but not kids her age like her.

My kids grew up in a school with only darker skinned children. Although my kids are mixed race, one son's skin is considerably lighter than his peers. He commented several times growing up that he preferred "brown skin" to his own lighter skin. Of course there were plenty of lighter skinned people in the media for him to see. Your daughter may not have that same advantage, since so many people in her "real life" as well as in the media are lighter skinned.

I don't think you need to have a lecture, but I think incidental teaching and comments about the variations in skin color would go a long way towards normalizing her experience.
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Old 03-08-2016, 05:54 AM
 
Location: Asia
2,759 posts, read 984,777 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by riaelise View Post
Out of the blue the other day, my four year old mentioned that she doesn't feel pretty because she has darker skin...
Never had daughters, so, not sure what to say. But, she's only 4yo. Could be that this isn't really a big deal?

Quote:
Originally Posted by riaelise View Post
I need advice because like I said, I really want to handle this well. What I absolutely don't want is for her self esteem to be tied to such a thing as skin color.
I think that's a great idea.

Nonetheless, I see no reason not to tell her that the color/tone/hue of her skin is beautiful (I bet it is!).

Quote:
Originally Posted by riaelise View Post
Unfortunately, her world (in Texas) isn't particularly diverse. The neighborhood we live in is mostly White, the school she will attend is mostly White, her friends are White. I can only speculate that she is becoming aware of her difference because of this. Or the fact that none of her cousins on the Mexican side of her family look like her. I don't know.
My son is mixed race, and we live in East Asia. There are very few whites, and he went to local schools, where he was the only mixed race child.

Of course, he's a boy, and beauty isn't really a thing, for us. And East Asians typically believe that mixed race kids are beautiful/handsome.

But, we also raised our boy to understand that he is himself and that the color of his skin does not define him.

If I were you, I would simply assure your daughter that although she is a bit different looking, she is still beautiful, and that there are all sorts of colors out in the world and there are beautiful people of all colors.

Of course, I'd also tell her that beauty is only skin deep, in a sense.

Good luck!

Edit: This is not directed at OP/riaelise. I note that a few people have remarked that racism is learned, and I believe that is likely true. However, I note also that people often comment that we need to teach our children about their heritage/ethnicity/race, etc. I will probably catch some guff for this, but, I find those two ideas (racism is learned) and (we have to teach our children about their heritage/ethnicity/race, etc.) to be a bit conflicting. If we are ever truly to get over differences perceived to be race-based, maybe we should start teaching our kids that their first culture is that of their immediate family and that the color of their respective skins is inconsequential? IMO, this makes sense for all of us, and especially for those of us with mixed races/ethnicities and adopted children who don't look like their adopted family.

Last edited by Salmonburgher; 03-08-2016 at 06:41 AM..
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Old 03-08-2016, 09:46 AM
 
Location: Wonderland
41,034 posts, read 32,728,581 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Salmonburgher View Post
I note that a few people have remarked that racism is learned, and I believe that is likely true. However, I note also that people often comment that we need to teach our children about their heritage/ethnicity/race, etc. I will probably catch some guff for this, but, I find those two ideas (racism is learned) and (we have to teach our children about their heritage/ethnicity/race, etc.) to be a bit conflicting. If we are ever truly to get over differences perceived to be race-based, maybe we should start teaching our kids that their first culture is that of their immediate family and that the color of their respective skins is inconsequential? IMO, this makes sense for all of us, and especially for those of us with mixed races/ethnicities and adopted children who don't look like their adopted family.
I think it's possible to seek out and provide positive role models in various skin tones, genders, professions, etc INCLUDING but not limited to the child's ethnic group - including people who look a lot like the particular child, who have a common heritage, etc. I think finding that balance is important.

My kids are biracial. Their skin is darker than mine, but lighter than some of their cousins' and darker than some of their cousins'. Lighter than one set of grandparents and darker than the other set. Lighter than some of their neighborhood friends and darker than others. When I bought them dolls, or action figures, or books, or movies, I just made sure that a variety of looks and ethnicities and cultures and traditions were represented in a positive light - not just the ones I grew up with in my immediate family. This seemed to work well.

Recently I went to the toy store and bought a bunch of Barbie dolls since my little multiracial granddaughters are all in that age range that seems to love Barbies. I bought Barbies and Kens (and whoever else - about 8 different dolls) in every look that is made, I think! And they all play with all of them "equally." They don't seem to prefer any one look over another. I like that.
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Old 03-08-2016, 10:30 AM
 
Location: detroit mi
667 posts, read 425,129 times
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Just tell her she would be ugly even if she was white. That should make her feel better
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Old 03-08-2016, 11:08 AM
bg7
 
7,698 posts, read 7,640,977 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Salmonburgher View Post
Never had daughters, so, not sure what to say. But, she's only 4yo. Could be that this isn't really a big deal?



I think that's a great idea.

Nonetheless, I see no reason not to tell her that the color/tone/hue of her skin is beautiful (I bet it is!).



My son is mixed race, and we live in East Asia. There are very few whites, and he went to local schools, where he was the only mixed race child.

Of course, he's a boy, and beauty isn't really a thing, for us. And East Asians typically believe that mixed race kids are beautiful/handsome.

But, we also raised our boy to understand that he is himself and that the color of his skin does not define him.

If I were you, I would simply assure your daughter that although she is a bit different looking, she is still beautiful, and that there are all sorts of colors out in the world and there are beautiful people of all colors.

Of course, I'd also tell her that beauty is only skin deep, in a sense.

Good luck!

Edit: This is not directed at OP/riaelise. I note that a few people have remarked that racism is learned, and I believe that is likely true. However, I note also that people often comment that we need to teach our children about their heritage/ethnicity/race, etc. I will probably catch some guff for this, but, I find those two ideas (racism is learned) and (we have to teach our children about their heritage/ethnicity/race, etc.) to be a bit conflicting. If we are ever truly to get over differences perceived to be race-based, maybe we should start teaching our kids that their first culture is that of their immediate family and that the color of their respective skins is inconsequential? IMO, this makes sense for all of us, and especially for those of us with mixed races/ethnicities and adopted children who don't look like their adopted family.


This is entirely true but the way the "race" conversation has gone in America is in fact only reinforcing the "us and them" mentality from all sides. While its ok for social theorists and activists to hold this cognitive dissonance in their mind, when it comes to kids ... kids tend to go with a logical outcome - one more consistent conclusion. My son never described black kids in his soccer team as black - always as with some other distinguishing feature like the "tall girl", the boy with the "curly hair". They were individuals. Then he had some school classes in 2nd grade about MLK (and of course that is a good thing) but after that he started using the term "black" as the distinguishing feature. They had become a group. Immediately a "them not us" line is inserted into the worldview.


As for the OP - my wife grew up in a country where basically no-one is white, but there is a common cultural perception that paler skin was more attractive than the darker skin. It took her some time to shake off that, but her parents perpetuated it. Being proactive at a young age like you are is good, logically speaking about this may help. And while you might be aghast at the idea of women's magazines etc, there are plenty you can have on your coffee table that feature women of color. And movies and songs that feature women of color as the main protagonist. That would go some way to countering the flood of white woman images she is probably exposed to.
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Old 03-08-2016, 02:06 PM
 
Location: Asia
2,759 posts, read 984,777 times
Reputation: 2979
Quote:
Originally Posted by KathrynAragon View Post
I think it's possible to seek out and provide positive role models in various skin tones, genders, professions, etc INCLUDING but not limited to the child's ethnic group - including people who look a lot like the particular child, who have a common heritage, etc. I think finding that balance is important.

My kids are biracial. Their skin is darker than mine, but lighter than some of their cousins' and darker than some of their cousins'. Lighter than one set of grandparents and darker than the other set. Lighter than some of their neighborhood friends and darker than others. When I bought them dolls, or action figures, or books, or movies, I just made sure that a variety of looks and ethnicities and cultures and traditions were represented in a positive light - not just the ones I grew up with in my immediate family. This seemed to work well.

Recently I went to the toy store and bought a bunch of Barbie dolls since my little multiracial granddaughters are all in that age range that seems to love Barbies. I bought Barbies and Kens (and whoever else - about 8 different dolls) in every look that is made, I think! And they all play with all of them "equally." They don't seem to prefer any one look over another. I like that.
Yes. This seems like a good approach. No need to emphasise or favor any one appearance.
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Old 03-18-2016, 09:41 AM
 
Location: Atlanta, GA
100 posts, read 94,471 times
Reputation: 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph_Kirk View Post
I've personally never met a beautiful dark-skinned woman who ever truly laughed at those comments, particularly when coming from a dark-skinned man. They learned not to let those comments crumble them, but find them humorous, no.
I laugh now bc I realized how ridiculous and ignorant those statements/ microaggressions are. Those types of comments haven become a red flag and sign to keep it moving
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