I have heard it from adoptive parents.
"When it comes to me and my child, I'm color blind. I don't see that they are different."
I'm not going to look at their faces and say, "bullshit", but that is what I think.
Also the kids in question-- they are not fooled. They know something is different about their color from your color. Lotus has noticed it. She points out that Mommy and Daddy have blue eyes and she has black eyes. I explain to her it is because China Mommy had black eyes and she's okay with that. But she still notices the difference.
I think that people believe that children don't see skin color because it just doesn't matter to them. Are you fun and running around and playing? Yes? Then come play with me. Are you pushing me down? Yes? Go away.
It really is that simple.
At one of our local malls there is a mini-play area for the kids. While I was dealing with the heart of Infertility or the worst parts of The Wait, I couldn't go near it. Now with my darling 2 and a half year old, it is a godsend. She's still kind of little for it, but it is fun.
One of the first times we went she was making her way around, slowly as this was right after she started walking. There was a little boy, well, not that little as he was around 6 to her 2, and he was a BIG little boy. Not fat, but muscular. He was also black. He bounded up to Lotus and I nearly intervened. I wasn't sure what he wanted or why he ran over to her so fast. It turned out he thought she was closer to the edge of the slide than she was and didn't want her to fall. He then, gentle as a man could be, held his hands out and helped her to sit on the slide. They went down together, both yelling Wheee!!! He then became her protector. If other kids came too close he yelled at them--"Hey, be careful of the baby here!" They played for nearly a half hour.
I sought out his mom and complemented his patience and caring demeanor. That's how I found out he was six--his mom told me. I was stunned to find out he didn't have younger siblings--but a ton of younger cousins. We were chatting and I said what a fine man he will turn out to be. The woman sighed and said "As long as he stays away from Florida with bags of Skittles," alluding of course to Treyvon Martin. I felt very white. She looked at me and seemed to be ready to apologize. I shook my head and we talked about how these boys and men who have been getting killed by people were once little boys. I said that I had almost said something when he came running up. She looked at me, "He's a big kid running towards your little one--of course you're going to notice. But you didn't have a gun in your hand and you didn't shoot it. We've got to get the guns out of their hands."
It was nearly a year ago when I had this conversation. Before all the stuff that happened recently. I think about it a lot. I think about the main question. How do we get the guns out of their hands?