‘Mom, what color is my skin?’ I should have told you. Instead I asked, ‘Why does it matter?’: Mom urges ‘we are not all the same, but we are all magnificently unique’

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“My dear son:

I have a confession to make: I lied to you.

A long time ago, I started teaching you that we should see everyone as one color, one race…the human race. When you asked me what color your skin was, I asked you why it mattered. Why’d you want to know? Who pointed out to you that your color was different from John’s?

My focus was on making sure skin color was not a topic because I wanted you to see everyone the same. Hoping that would result in your treating everyone as an equal. That we could live blissfully and respectfully if we taught ourselves to look beyond colors. In a sense, to live as colorblind. I mean, at the end of the day, we all bleed red, right?

I’m here to tell you today, I was wrong.

When you asked me what color your skin was, I should have told you, ‘Brown, like sweet caramel.’ Brown, like the chai your parents drink every morning. Brown, like the honey wheat bread that we use to make yummy sandwiches. A beautifully brave brown.

Because my son, being colorblind didn’t teach us to see everyone the same. It made us blind from accepting everyone for being different. We shouldn’t see everyone as one. We are all unique, and THIS makes us all special.

I want you to see all the beautiful shades and tones out there. The alabaster white, the sun kissed gold, the sweet caramel brown, and the rich dark chocolate. And all other shades and races in between.

I should’ve taught you that our skin color is as special as the next. That no skin color is less than another. No skin color is better than. No skin color makes one less or more valuable.

We do not need to be blind. We should see with both eyes open. Because maybe then, we would not struggle with fitting in anymore; we would take pride in standing out.

Colorblind is an illusion that only taught us to try to conform to one way, one people. If instead we saw our color, loved it, took ownership of it, then we would see ourselves and others as humans trying to thrive in our combined humanity. Covid-19 taught us an important lesson in our collective humanity, didn’t it?

So, my son, no, we are not all the same.

We are all magnificently unique and individual as the next. But we are all in this race to survive together.

So, if even one of us, one of our brothers and sisters of a different beautiful shade, is treated unjustly or ‘less than,’ it is our collective responsibility to stand with them. And to remind each other: we see you. We see your color. We honor it. And we stand with you in preserving it.

My dear son, please keep both eyes open. Never be colorblind. See everyone for who they are and respect them for it. And always, ALWAYS be honored to be living in the skin you are in.

A beautifully brave brown.”

Courtesy of Tum Keen

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Tum Keen from Detriot, Michigan and originally appeared on Lansing Mom. You can follow their journey on Instagram. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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