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As Simple As Black And Not Black

, , , , , , , | Related | July 16, 2020

My daughter and I are at a zoo with her friend from swimming lessons and her friend’s mom. My daughter, despite being almost four and otherwise neurotypical, barely ever talks. She’s in speech therapy, but it’s rare to hear more than one- or two-word phrases from her. Also relevant to the story is that she is white and her friend is black.

After a fun day at the zoo, we start heading back to our cards. As we exit to the parking lot, my daughter suddenly starts pointing at her friend, exclaiming, “Black! Black!” over and over.

Confused and embarrassed, I assure her friend’s mom that we never say anything like, “Let’s go play with your black friend!” or point out the difference in skin color; it doesn’t matter to pre-schoolers, so why would we make a big deal out of it? Her friend’s mother assures me that she has no reason to believe our family is racist, although she’s as baffled as I am. Meanwhile, my daughter keeps pointing at her friend and yelling, “Black!” 

After what seems like forever, we get to our cars, parked next to each other, and start getting ready to go. My daughter points to her booster seat and then to her friend’s car. “Black!” Then she signs, “Please.”

The friend’s car is black. Ours isn’t.

She was asking, with her limited speech, if she could ride home with her friend in her car!

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