Friday, July 3, 2009

Skin Color and Michael Jackson

Being a mixed race family, we often have discussions on skin and hair color. Sometimes the kids want us to all be alike. For a while, they insisted that Daddy was brown, like them. Then Rico announced that he was, in fact, peach like me, not brown skinned. I usually just let these ideas play out and don't give too much input one way or another. Let them find their way in our family and in our world.

So today, I was a bit surprised when Rico came in, followed by Marielle and asked me, "Mama, Marielle says that when Michael Jackson was little, he was brown, not peach. Is that true?" I said yes, that is true. Then Rico asked how he went from brown to peach. I told him I didn't really know for sure, but cosmetic surgery was involved and maybe other stuff like creams to lighten his skin.

Then Marielle said, 'Mom, he looked so much better when he was brown. When he was peach, he....he....he just looked weird".

Ah yes, a learning moment! I told her she was absolutely correct. We talked about how sometimes, people don't like the way they look, be it skin color or hair color or shape of their nose or whatever. And they try to change it. Sometimes, they look better because of the change. But sometimes, well, they just look a whole lot worse. And maybe, it's better to just be happy with the way you look because that's the way that you look, than to try and change it.

I hope the lesson sunk in.

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