Kids Ask Questions About Skin Color and Race
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

Kids Often Ask Me 'Why Don't You Look Like Me?' Because Of The color of my skin

When kids ask to feel my hair

67
Kids Often Ask Me 'Why Don't You Look Like Me?' Because Of The color of my skin

As a black person with naturally curly, thick hair, it's not unexpected for me to receive the disappointing, highly inappropriate question: "Can I touch your hair?"

With one click of a casual Google search, you'll find that this question has become somewhat a symbol of racism and racial ignorance.

My siblings and I, who share many physical attributes, are often randomly asked about our heritage and whether our hair is real.

Just last semester, when we were getting ready to leave school for the day, my sister was asked the latter. Her curls were out over her shoulders and a girl (whom she barely knew) repeatedly questioned its authenticity, despite being told many times that it was, in fact, very real.

Questions like these coming from adults are incredibly rude and scream ignorance. They invalidate a black person's privacy and do the same to their humanity.

Adults should be mature enough to respect our privacy, but what happens when these questions don't come from an adult? What if they're coming from a child?

Looking back at the last two weeks, I realize I've received many inquiries about my appearance.

Last week, I was relaxing near a playground for a moment when a five-year-old girl approached me, pointed at my bare arm, and asked, "Why is your skin that color?"

I was taken aback for a second, mildly surprised by such a blunt question about my skin tone. But then I looked at my arm with her and explained why.

Surprisingly, considering my feelings of discomfort when asked questions about my appearance in the past, I was happy to tell her that the world is filled with different skin tones and that they are all normal and beautiful.

I was also content to answer questions from other kids that came later on, such as:

Why is your hair like that? How come your hair isn't straight? Why is your skin so dark?

And even the age-old:

Can I touch your hair?

The kids who have asked to do this are in no way gentle with it, but I am fine even with that. Why? Because I know there is no ill intent or underlying contempt.

I'm a firm believer that kids (at least generally) lack prejudice and hatred towards different races and backgrounds. They are simply curious, craving information about the world around them. I believe the best way to handle the questions they throw at me is to answer them honestly.

Of course, I am in no way obligated to let them get their hands on my curls, and it is not my responsibility as a person of color to explain these things. However, I know that giving them the tools to understand can go a long way. I want to explain why I don't look like them, proving that different cultures and identities are not only normal but also wonderful.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Featured

Planning Another Christmas Party

Don't just plan another plain party but get creative to have everyone wanting to come back next year!

7299
Getty Famous

You know it's Christmas when the radio stations change to all of your favorite holiday tunes, the air is still, and stores have the best sales. With all my favorite things from Christmas happening my least favorite probably has to be when I have to go to another same old boring Christmas party that I get invited to every year. Here are some Christmas party ideas so that you won't have another sad Christmas party.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

High School Soccer is Wildly Important

For Young Players Who Want to Succeed at The Next Level

13235
High School Soccer is Wildly Important

Whose choice is it? The parent? The player? There are a number of reasons that a kid may sit out of high school soccer, and to be completely honest; It is a huge mistake. High school soccer is the final piece in the puzzle that takes a player from above average or elite, to college ready by the end of their senior year. Every year thousands of talented athletes don't play for their high schools. Why though?

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

8 Things That Should Be On Everyone's Holiday To-Do List

December is around the corner, are you ready?

10475
8 Things That Should Be On Everyone's Holiday To-Do List
Unsplash.com

As they tend to say, its the most wonderful time of the year! People have begun to compile their Christmas to-do lists in anticipation for the season of sugarplums and gingerbread.

The history of the Christmas to-do lists goes back hundreds of years, almost as old as the holiday itself, however, people tend to fall out of this habit as they get older. This is unfortunate, as the theme of Christmas tradition can add bundles of the spirit of joy to your families.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Fall Weather Must-Haves

Put away the swim suits and your favorite high-waisted shorts!

10176

The transitional months of fall can cause some fashion headaches as you try to figure out what clothing to keep in your closet. With limited amount of college living space and the ever-unpredictable Nebraska weather, sometimes it’s difficult to know what should be taking up that precious closet space as you transition into winter. As you pack away those tanks and shorts for the chilly months ahead, get your closet ready with a few Fall must-haves. 

Keep Reading... Show less
Content Inspiration

Top 3 Response Articles of This Week

Take a look at the articles driving big conversations on Odyssey.

8793
https://www.theodysseyonline.com/video/we-are-rollins-odyssey
https://www.theodysseyonline.com/video/we-are-rollins-odyssey

At Odyssey, we're on a mission to encourage constructive discourse on the Internet. That's why we created the response button you can find at the bottom of every article.

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments