“Close your eyes”
Uh, alright. I can feel the group of 8-10 year old eyes looking intently my face. I open my eyes to thier intrigued glances. Perfect almond shaped brown eyes studying me.
“Close them again”
I blindly trust the curious children and close my eyes again. What are they looking at? Is there something on my face?
“Do you have make up on Miss?” No, why?
“Your eyelids are purple.” They are? I’ve never seen my eyelids. “Why are they purple?” Um, what do I say? Because I’m white, or maybe I got sun burnt? What color are your eyelids?
“My eyelids are brown. What color is your head Miss, under your hair?”
White I think? I don’t know, look. I’ve never seen it. Tiny hands purposefully part (and pull) my curls to look at my scalp, inspecting it carefully.
“I think it’s brown, no white, pink.”
What color is your scalp? “I don’t know Miss. Do you dye your hair?” No. “Don’t lie.” I’m not lying (well kind of lying).”Why is it light at the ends?” Sun. “I like your hair. I want hair like yours.” Well, I want braids like yours.
They survey me and I them- their flawless skin, their thick dark eyelashes, the hopeful looks of children, trying to make sense of thier world.
Am I like her?
How do you teach a child to want and love their own skin, thier color, thier hair?