Mommy, Why Am I Tan Brown?

My child is curious. He asks a lot of difficult questions, funny questions, and shocking questions. Luckily, a lot of his questions are answered at school and by my husband who is a walking Wikipedia page. Culture is a big topic in his Pre-K class this month and they have a large poster of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the wall in their classroom. The teacher told me that they have lots of open discussions about ethnic backgrounds, skin color, and friendship. He has noticed that his tan skin is different from other people’s skin colors, but just solely because colors are different, and everyone has different color skin.

I picked him up from school one day and he asked me why God made him have “tan brown” skin. He announced,

“I can never be a Kidz Bop kid because I have dark skin and Kidz Bop kids only have light skin.”
This shook me to my core.

I wanted to find the person that told my four-year-old that he cannot do something because of the color of his skin. His beautiful Filipino American skin should not be a daily topic of conversation in his little life. He should not be self-conscious or emotional because his skin is not as light as Mommy’s. My momma bear instincts to hunt these people that are speaking negatively about race in front of my child should not be coming out this early in his life. Kids do not see race. Kids need to be kids and play, love unconditionally, and be weird. After his accusation that he cannot be a singer, I immediately whipped out the Kidz Bop videos and showed him that there are children with many different skin colors. I repeated that he can do anything he wants to do and be anything he wants to be.

The next morning, he asked me if I knew who Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is. He asked to see his “I Have a Dream” speech, he asked good questions, he wanted to understand why MLK was assassinated, he wanted to know why peoples skin color even matters. Valid question buddy; why does skin color matter? Why are we still having to fight racism in 2020? Why is my 4-year-old questioning his worth or ability based on his skin color? Can we all just take a page from our children’s playbook – in their innocence and purity they do not see color as something that has weight in a persons value, it’s just really cool that his best friend (in his words) is “from African American” and the other “was made in Louisiana” and the other is “made from India.” When he is with his friends who are different races, practice different religions and come from various backgrounds, the thing they really care about most is who can fart the loudest.


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