In your life you will meet people with all different backgrounds, ethnicity, and race. You will see people with white skin, people with black skin, and every color in between. Our skin colors are beautiful and tell a story about our past. The more our culture has grown, the more skin colors have changed and mixed. Our skin is one piece of our beautiful life story.
See people for who they are, and choose not to be colorblind. Choose to be accepting and loving of all colors- all skin tones. Love people for how they act and treat others. See people for who they are, including their skin color. Everyone deserves to be known and seen. Appreciating someone is accepting and acknowledging everything about that person- including their skin color, because it is part of their identity and part of who they are.
I don’t even know how to say this to you, because you are so innocent and so young right now. It could stay that way, because of your skin tone, for quite some time. We don’t have to talk about this, but we need to. There are people that will treat others unfairly because of the color of their skin- because they are black. You are white, so you will most likely escape through most of your life
without experiencing this first hand. You have Mexican and Native American roots, and a last name that is telling of that. So, you might experience a small amount of discrimination at times, but in general you will be perceived as white and treated with privilege. You will not have to worry that a police officer might be scared of you and overreact and pull his gun out on you. Or that he will have hatred towards you simply because of your skin color. You are female, and you are not black. You could move through a good portion of your life without knowing these things happen. But then you wouldn’t be able to be part of the change- the good.
We can’t fix the problem if we don’t teach our children about the problem. I can teach you to love and be kind, but if you are unaware of the issues in our society, and how some people choose to judge others and treat them differently because of the color of their skin, you would not be able to help change our country for better. I want you to know that people deserve to be celebrated for who they are. I want you to know that love celebrates color.
I want you to know that your friends and acquaintances that are black, have a much different story than you do. These friends, while they might be growing up in the same neighborhood as you, and go to the same school and grocery store, will be treated poorly at times in their life. It is sickening, and horrific, but it is the truth. You have an obligation to stand up for what is right- we all do. You have an obligation to educate yourself about the problems and help fix them. Maybe you’ll grow up and be able to make change on a large scale for our country, or maybe you’ll only be able to reach and make change in our community and with loved ones around you. Either way, your impact will be helpful.
I encourage you to ask questions, challenge others to treat everyone fairly, include everyone and think about their feelings, and to see the beauty in everyone. I encourage you to not be silent. I encourage you to address issues head on and respectfully, instead of ignoring and staying passive. I encourage you to share kindness with those that seem to be lost. Your kindness might change their world.
I write this letter to you as you are only 1.5 years old. I am saddened by the recent events in the news. I am saddened by the stories that my friends have recently shared with me about the impact their skin color has had on their lives. I am so saddened by the fact that people can be so cruel.
I am proud when I see you, though. I am proud to say that you are already a beautiful and kind person. It is my job, as your mother, to encourage you to continue along this path.
Yesterday, you did something so amazing. You reached up and held your gymnastics instructor’s hand. You are cautious of strangers (all strangers, not just him), and even though this was week 3 of classes, you have still been a bit unsure of him. Yesterday, however, you stepped out of your comfort zone and held his hand. You had seen that he was kind to you, that he smiled at you, that he had been trying to earn your trust, and that he was there to help you. You smiled at him and you melted his heart when you held his hand. He looked at me and said “I’ll take this any day”. It was a huge step for you to take, and your kindness was very much appreciated.
This was a proud mama moment just as is. The color of his skin wouldn’t have normally been a focus for me at that point. I was focused on the fact that you were holding a strangers hand and showing kindness and trust. On this day, however, with the recent news and sadness in our hearts, it was a little extra special that this man had black skin. It’s not that you didn’t see it… you certainly aren’t blind to it. But you accepted it without question, and simply showed love. I took a breath and realized that everyone once had that in them, and that society trained them to see things in a different light. I wished I could capture the moment and share it with the world. On a day that he was probably incredibly sad and sickened by the news (I wouldn’t have blamed him if he wasn’t smiling that day, or even if he’d cancelled class), you brought the biggest smile to his face. You are capable of such kindness. You are capable of seeing color and loving. You are capable of change. Today my heart smiled a little bit extra. Thank you for being you.