Very grateful to Aana Vigen for this thoughtful example of how to have a challenging conversation with your child about race and the power of symbols.
In infancy, it was the eyes. But ever since toddler-hood, it has been the hair. My son is eight years old. He was born with deep blue eyes and fairly bald—just a smattering of sand-colored hair. As he learned to walk, his hair began morphing into its current “tow-head” state. (That term comes from old German roots referring to the hue of flax.) So, yeah, my son has white-blond hair.
“So what?” some may ask. “Why mention it?” Because so many others do. Toni Morrison called our attention to the bluest eye, and with all due respect to Dr. Morrison’s penetrating insight into American mindsets and histories, in my immediate family, it’s all about the hair.
My son receives compliments about the color of his hair—from people he knows and from those he merely passes on the street—nearly every week. Some weeks, it’s nearly every day. All shades and…
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