3/02/2017

What You're Missing About That Viral Photo of Two "Colorblind" Boys

You've seen it on your social media newsfeeds and all over the internet today, right?
What You're Missing About That Viral Photo of Two "Colorblind" Boys


A mom shared this sweet photo of her son and his preschool buddy who -- despite clear differences in skin color -- got the same haircut to confuse their teacher.

It's adorable, and just thinking about the innocence between these two friends makes me smile.

While I believe this story is well-intentioned the headlines are nothing short of cringe-worthy.
What You're Missing About That Viral Photo of Two "Colorblind" Boys

I understand why "colorblindness" was brought into this story.

In the original Facebook post, Jax's mom states: "The only difference Jax sees in the two of them is their hair."

I have a hard time with believing this is true. And if it is, I'm really sad Jax doesn't see his friend for who he is and the skin he lives in.

My oldest daughters are 3 and 2. They know they have brown skin and my husband, our youngest daughter and I have white skin. Sure, at one point our two year-old thought we had blue skin, but that's not important - HA!

But the fact is, if our daughters can acknowledge skin color at such young ages, these five year-old boys can, too. To imply or claim they are "colorblind" and spin it as something good is neither possible nor true.

Now before you all beat me down for bursting what appears to be an uplifting news piece in our country's current state of affairs, let me tell you a story.

I was having coffee with a girlfriend of mine over the weekend. She is Black. We talked about our families -- the good, the complex and everything in between. She asked how our girls were getting along.

"As best as a 3, 2 and 1-year old can!" I said.

But then I went on to say -- and I think it's relevant here -- that I believe the world could learn so much from my children.

My daughters know they are different, and that's not a bad thing.

They view their differences as special and unique, not as superior or threatening or better or worse.

The world hasn't yet tainted them with judgments that coincide with skin colors, and the love shared between them is pure and innocent and genuine. They know no different.

So while I think this story has good intentions, and I can certainly relate to the innocence of raising young children with tolerance and acceptance, I think it sends the wrong message to parents, educators and even the general public.

You see, being "colorblind" isn't something to be proud of. In fact, when we start to believe that being "colorblind" or "not seeing race" is a good thing, then our children grow up wondering why seeing it is so bad.

We need to validate -- not ignore -- our children's curiosity about skin color and differences. Otherwise, they'll feel ashamed for wondering in the first place.

Ignoring race and our differences is not better than acknowledging them. And pretending our differences don't exist isn't doing any of our children a favor.

Related content:
What I Want My Daughters to Know About America
A Heartfelt Apology to Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin
The Bittersweetness of Saying Goodbye to Babyhood