simplyjan

A Simple Look at a Not-So-Simple Life

Monday’s Child: Color Blind? Part 1

There’s been a lot of talk on this topicin adoptions circles after the NPR story that aired last week. I have to admit that it’s a bit of an “owie” topic for me. With two Latino children, this is a part of our life, our reality. I am still working through what being a multi-ethnic family means and what being a good mother to my Latino children looks like. This week I am going to share one way this has manifest itself in my family by reposting a piece I wrote in September of last year. While I wrote the post as a body image piece and not an adoption piece, it is definitely a reflection of how skin color and self-perception affect my youngest daughter.

Beautiful

Not long ago I asked my 7-year-old daughter what she would wish for if she could have anything in the world. My beautiful Latina daughter broke my heart when she answered, “To be white.”

I think that everything about her is gorgeous – her radiant brown skin, her coal-black eyes and hair, her precious smile. Where on earth did she get the idea that she isn’t perfect just as she is?

Even more summer 2010 066

Maybe from her mother, who can point out every imperfection, every blemish, every bump and roll and too-round place on her own body. Now mind you, I don’t go around vocalizing my distaste for my imperfections all the time, but children watch and this one especially watches very closely. She doesn’t miss a thing, including this.

So when I stumbled across the song below,I’ll admit to you that I cried. The words are powerful and I want so much for her to believe them. I want to believe them myself. I’ll keep listening. I’ll keep trying. Maybe one day the words of the small voice will overpower the words of the mirror.

Here are the lyrics if you’d like to follow along:

Every girl young and old has to face her own reflection
Twirl around, stare it down
What’s the mirror gonna say
With some luck, you’ll measure up
But you might not hold a candle to the rest
“Is that your best?” says the mirror to the mess

But there’s a whisper in the noise
Can you hear a little voice
and he says

Has anybody told you you’re beautiful?
You might agree if you could see what I see
Oh
‘Cuz everything about you is incredible
You should have seen me smile the day that I made you beautiful for me

If it’s true beauty lies in the eye of the beholder
What my life and what’s inside to give him something to behold
I want a heart that’s captivating
I wanna hear my Father say


Has anybody told you you’re beautiful?
You might agree if you could see what I see
Oh
‘Cuz everything about you is incredible
You should have seen me smile the day that I made you beautiful for me

Close your eyes
Look inside
Let me see the you that you’ve been trying to hide
Long ago, I made you so very beautiful
So I ought to know you’re beautiful


Has anybody told you you’re beautiful?
You might agree if you could see what I see
Yeah
‘Cuz everything about you is incredible
You should have seen me smile the day that I made you beautiful
You’re so beautiful
Beautiful for me
So beautiful for me
Has anybody told you?

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3 thoughts on “Monday’s Child: Color Blind? Part 1

  1. and then I think, my white skin is so pasty and pale and well, I wear clothes to hide it…wouldn't it be nice to have chocolate skin, that always looked nice in shorts and skirts? seriously – loving who we are, as we are, is such a challenge….and especially when a young girl already has a sense that white skin is somehow “better” – goodness, the hidden and mixed message that must exist in our culture…sigh

    Oh, and I didn't hear or hear about the NPR article…

  2. Terri, we are all so rarely satisfied with ourselves. What is it that we've bought into without even realizing it?

  3. This makes me cry. It's hard to grow up a girl, of any skin tone, and your darling has another layer to contend with in addition. I look at my beautiful daughter who sees every “flaw” in her own self and suffers over them, and I wish I could get her to see herself the way I see her.

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