Mar 6, 2009

Big question ?









Okay, now that I am the Mama to a very special Ethiopian girl with beautiful brown skin, I have a sudden question that is laying heavy on my heart....

Why do we say black people?
Yes, I have seen some very dark skinned Africans...but honestly, very few that I would say were black.

What's the deal? I know what the color black is and it is nothing like any of the African Americans I know. I also didn't see any 'black' Ethiopians in Africa.

It is amazing how things change once you adopt a child of a different ethnicity. My heart wants to protect her and keep her from hurtful words.
I wonder what else God is going to change in me? Open my eyes Lord, change me.

21 comments:

Shonni said...

Hi Kimmie...just yesterday something so cute happened...London(from S.Korea) has a love of paper knights and he was coloring a new knight. He said "hey Mom...look, I'm going to color this one like Corban and Aiden". I said "what color are you going to use?" and he said "chocolate". LOL There is so much joy in the diversity(good word)...but I also understand...kind of like a friend who is from S.Africa and is as white as they come. She now lives here...is she African American still? Labels are a tricky thing - huh?

Our Red House said...

An Indian friend once asked me why 'white' people were called white when they are pinkish or yellowish in colour.

I don't really have an answer to your question. I just think it's a shame that we humans are so big on labels.

kate

Renata said...

It is an interesting question. Have you been getting any comments?
Your daughter is just beautiful. Maybe it's because her eyes are so dark they look black (I know Zai used to describe his & Ellie's eyes (both of which are very dark) as black.)

Stephanie said...

I like the "chocolate" comment! I've been trying to explain to Jaedon and Audrey that our new little one will have dark skin. But now I may have to steal that one. I'm sure they'd love to describe their new baby brother or sister as "chocolate". :-)

Good question though. When we really take a step back and look at the labels, they make no sense whatsoever!

Rachel said...

My best friend the midwife is especially fond of "chocolate babies". ;) She's done missionary work in Africa and Haiti, delivering babies and working with the women there.

Michelle said...

We say chocolate in our house. And she is oh, so sweet. Chocolate is very fitting for our lovely girl.

Anonymous said...

My kids say "brown people" ~ LOL! But then I point out that everyone is some shade of tan and they get even more confused. My kids are not yet teenagers and it is getting more difficult to keep the perspective right amidst a racist-prone world. Oh, and why is it when we as caucasians have a tendency to re-tell a story and say, "There was this black girl..." when we are speaking of someone with dark skin, but never say "There was this white girl..." when the color of the skin is not even relevant to the story???? I have noticed this so often. I broke myself of saying stuff like that when I was in college.

Oh, she's a beauty!!
Heather

Amrita said...

Lovely photos and i agree with you being of brown skin.

Black is a term of discrimination or segregation or even abuse.Maybe it was coined to put down brown people.

But these days many people use it as a term of pride too.

Marian said...

We use the word brown here. And for my Ethiopian daughter, well, she's a yummy, absolutely delicious chocolate! That's about as positive a statement as you can make, in my opinion. =) I'm vanilla, by the way.

andrea said...

I just don't notice skin colour...ever but language accents I do. our baby will have brown skin. God just made each person so beautiful no matter what we look like...we are all miracles!I love that!

Spirit of Adoption said...

It's true, sister! So many things change....your eyes/heart are aware of new things!

Samuel has always said that he's brown, Keziah's black, mommy's pink, Daddy's white, and Karis is purple ; ) We all have different tones : )

Just last night, Keziah say 'mommy, are you white?'. I said, 'hmmm...I think I'm more like a peach or something like that. God made us all different, isn't it beautiful, how creative our God is?' She responded, 'yes, like I'm black!'. I said, 'I think you look dark brown.' And Keziah looked at me and said, 'but I thought I was black?'. To which I responded, 'people like to call us black and white because it's easier but really, we all have different skin colors.'

: )

There's so much to celebrate in your home, friend! Your little girl is PRECIOUS!

love to you!

Cathy said...

Well, she is beautiful, no matter how you label her skin color, she is just beautiful.

the mother of this lot said...

My kids always said 'chocolate' too. I think it's a lovely description. Maybe that's just because I like chocolate.....!

Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

Ummm....I haven't seen many "white" folk either, except maybe albinos. Haven't heard of any yellow people, and the Redskins football team is being challenged.

I've heard different shade of negroid skin as being called coffee, expresso, cafe au lait, tea, and chocolate. Nice poetic imagery.

I call people who look like your daughter "chocolate chip eyed girls." She is so gorgeous I wonder how you ever stop taking pictures of her and staring.

javamamma said...

Uh, same reason we say 'red hair' - it's really orange right? I know quite a few 'black' folk and I think white people are more caught up on being offensive than is necessary. They are 'black' just as we are 'white'. It's probably more about our heart attitudes than our terminology.

Whatever you decide, she is amazingly beautiful, as is the rest of your growing family!

Mom Of Many said...

Oh what a great question...

and your sweet lovebug...she is precious!! Love the pics...xo

Anonymous said...

I have enjoyed reading your blog and celebrating with you in your adoption. Funny, I didn't know so many other families use the term "chocolate"in regards to skin tone. We do,too, and I had hoped it wasn't offensive. Years ago I read the book "Black like Me". I don't remember if my understanding of the term "Black" came from that book or somewhere else, but I remember reading that 60 years ago or so the term used for "black" people was Negro. Some found this term offensive and they worked to have people use the word "black" instead and it was considered a positive term in the 60's and 70's. I am confused about the term African American...are all "black" people originally from Africa? So if you are from Jamaica and are "black" and now live in the U.S. are you African American? Or African Jamaican?
Amy F.

Amy said...

I have been fascinated to see that our children have rarely referred to another child by their skin color. It just doesn't seem to naturally register with kids as anything particularly extraordinary. As preschool and early elementary aged children they would tend to describe their friends to me as "the one with the orange hair" or the "dark hair" or "curly hair." Our variations in skin color may seem as if they would be much more obviously descriptive, but perhaps that is more a learned or environmentally induced observation.

I was so intrigued when a Korean friend of mine recently said he always wished he had grown up "white." I must have been incredibly naive, but I just have never tended to think in terms of labels. I have a rather mixed ethnic background, yet to him, I was "white" with all of the benefits that implied.

I'm stumped by degrees of "whiteness" and "blackness." In the same way that I am stumped by labels such as African American, Italian American, Irish American. I understand that these particular labels grew out of a sense of ethnic pride, but at what point do we become simply "American?" To me, that label alone (American) implies rich and diverse ethnic histories that we can all be proud of sharing in.

Hopefully our children will grow up taking pride in all of the qualities that make them unique, skin color included.

Mercy is beautiful...each one of your children is. It's no wonder you are over the moon with joy! :)

secondofwett said...

As the adopted mom of two biracial girls we've had many discussions about this but it's true...until you actually have a child of colour in your family, we unfortunately do use the term 'black'. My girls came from two different birth families so one is chocolate and one is cafe au lait!

Susan said...

Ella (who glows in the dark) always calls our babies a food that is a similar color to their skin. We've had cinnamon toast babies, warm cocoa babies, peach ice cream babies, chocolate bar babies, you get the idea. She considers herself "almost a milkshake" color. I always laugh at the color she thinks the baby is, but she is usually pretty close.

La Tea Dah said...

My best friend has two adopted children of African decent. We home-schooled and raised our children together. They are all 20-somethings now. Many wonderful hours were spent --- and the end result has been that we have all become color blind. No labels necessary -- :D

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