Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Asking why I brown? But seeming happy to be so

Kisae has asked me several times in the last few weeks, "Why I brown?" She hasn't asked but, of course, I wonder if she is thinking the corollary, Why are you guys so pale?

I've told her that people come in many colors (though she then asked if there are blue people. Well, no, not that many colors). And I've told her that she is brown because her birth parents are brown. It's hard to know at age 3 how much of this sinks in.

That Chakisae won't feel good about the way she looks is one of my fears about transracial parenting. We think she is the most beautiful little girl imaginable. Really, she just takes our breath away. But will she see things that way? Or only that she doesn't look like us?

So I know these are very small incidents but both made me happy. I was doing Chakisae's hair, so she was watching PBS Kids. There was a PSA by a staff member of our local PBS station. This woman happened to be black. Kisae pointed to her and said, "Her pretty girl."

Yes, I said, she is. Silly, perhaps, but I was so happy that she saw that black woman as pretty (and yeah, we'll work on that thing about calling grown woman girls later :) ).

Then Ben was playing with his Wii and created virtual versions of the family. Kisae wanted one of these Miis, so he did one for her. He picked the brown skin color (she didn't object), but asked her how she wanted her hair. She smiled, put her hands on her cute twists and said, "Like this!"
Now maybe she didn't quite get that she could have picked something that wasn't true to life, but still I was happy she hadn't been immediately drawn to something blond, straight or otherwise unlike her lovely, dark curls.

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