See, it’s not about races, just places, faces,
Where your blood comes from is where your space is,
I’ve seen the light get duller,
I’m not going to spend my life being a color
- Michael Jackson, “Black or White”
In 1991, the King of Pop Michael Jackson released hit single “Black or White” when I was 6, but just like millions of others, it was one my favorite songs.
More than two decades later, it still is.
The 6-year-old in me believed Jackson when he sang, “It don’t matter if you’re black or white.”
But I have to admit, I have lost faith over the years. At 26, I don’t know if I believe anymore. As a nation, we have come a long way since slavery, the Civil Rights Era and 1991. But even in 2012, skin color is still a wall that separates the majority and the minority, the haves and the have-nots, the norm and the deviants, the “good” and the “bad”.
When Jason Jr. was first born in 2009, I promised myself that I would teach him to see the world differently. I vowed that his generation would not see white and black. I figured I had at least seven or eight years before I even mentioned skin color.
Even at 2-years-old, he did not understand the meaning of the words, “What color are you”. If he was wearing a blue shirt, he was blue that day. And if he was wearing an orange one, he was orange. But now that his mind has gone from that of a 2- to 3-year-old, skin color is prevalent.
“I’m black, and Zoe S. is white,” Jason Jr. recently said to me. “Zoe B. is black, too, but she’s a different black.”
He was right. He is black and Zoe S. is white. Zoe B., who Jason Jr. called “different black”, appears to be biracial. I never taught him the difference between white, black and biracial. Maybe nature did that, which leads me to wonder if skin color will always matter. Can we breed a generation of color blind people? Should we even want to? Is it OK to separate people by color? We separate people by income. We separate them by education. We even separate people by likes and dislikes.
Should it matter that Zoe S. is white and Jason Jr. is black? Right now, the difference means nothing to Jason Jr. His little life consists of grouping things, all things, not just race. But one day it might matter. One day he might realize that one group is more dominant than the others.
“My dad is white,” a fellow toddler told Jason Jr.
Immediately following the little boy’s statement, the little boy’s father told him to be quiet.
But how long can we keep our children quiet?
Tunette Powell is married with two children. You can read her every Tuesday on momaha.com
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