Friday, March 26, 2010

Colorblindness

This past week during my placement, I had an interesting conversation with one of my students. I don't remember a lot from our conversation, but there is something in particular that struck me. She had colorblindness. Now I don't mean this in the sense that she couldn't see colors, not at all. She is colorblind in the sense of skin color. While I am white, she is black. One day she came up to me and called me 'That's so Raven'. So I asked her if I looked like Raven. Her first response was yes, but then she thought about it for a second and said that I looked like Hannah Montana instead. Here is a little look at how parts of the conversation went.

Me: I don't look like Raven cause I'm too white, right?
T: No, but Raven is black.
Me: But that means I'm too white.
T: No.
Me: What are some differences between me and Raven?
(several differences were given)
T: Your hair is different.
Me: How is my hair different?
T: Well Raven always has her hair up.
Me: Oh, and isn't her hair longer than mine?
T: Yeah.

So why did I point out these particular points of the conversation? Well, this shows just how much skin color doesn't matter to this child. I kept telling her that I was white and therefore could not look like someone who is black because our skin color is so different (this was simply said to gauge what this child thought and not because it matters to me, because it doesn't really). However, this child did not see skin color as the deal breaker on whether I look like Raven or not. The hair is significant because my hair is different than hers. I was expecting her to say something about how the texture of Raven's and my hair is different. But nope, she didn't see it. It was amazing to see how a child who lives in a culture where the majority of people are the same race as her would not see the obvious differences between me, the white girl, and herself. The other reason it surprised me was because white kids would most likely tell me I didn't look like Raven because of my skin color. I know not all white kids would say this, but I have a feeling the majority would even if they didn't mean it in a mean way; skin color would be pointed out. So how come this child can't see the difference between my skin and hers, but many white children I've come into contact with would notice? I don't know.

5 comments:

@eloh said...

She's very lucky. Her parents must be fantastic people.

Heather said...

i can see similarities betweeen your personality and ravens...i love her so that's a good thing ;].

Above all Else: Love said...

good observation. very social work like ;)

Julianna Cannon said...

When people stop noticing that someone else doesn't distinguish one person from another based on skin color, we will be that much closer to Heaven.

Nice blog, great post.

Emily Elizabeth said...

thanks julianna :). kerri, sometimes i wonder if i shoulda went for social work. and heather, i would agree =D.