My 6-year-old grandson thought a book character’s skin was ‘too dark.’ Here’s how I handled it.

by Aisha White

When my 6-year-old grandson told me he didn’t like the African-American girl in a book about diverse children because she was ‘too dark,’ I felt like the protagonist in the French film “Amélie” when she transformed into water and dropped into a huge puddle on the floor. I was devastated — shocked, angry, surprised and, most importantly, stumped.

I had been working as the director of the P.R.I.D.E. Program at the University of Pittsburgh for more than six months, immersing myself in articles about positive racial identity, reading multiple picture books about skin color and engaging in conversations with our team about our mission, program components and ultimate goals. I was sharing books about skin color with my grandchildren as a way to learn firsthand about the topic.

And despite my deliberate approach to test out theories, I found myself feeling just like the teachers and parents we had interviewed in our focus groups. Women and men in those groups described feelings of helplessness when their children or students made comments that showed their confusion about race or that previewed the development of racial biases.

To continue reading the piece from P.R.I.D.E. Director Dr. Aisha White, please visit PublicSource

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