Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Lesson in White Priveledge

While playing in our backyard yesterday, one of the girls on our block came to me asking for a band-aid because the scab on her ankle had come off. Kids love band-aids. I brought one out for her from our medicine drawer, and as she was opening it, I explained that it was "Abe-colored." At first, she thought I meant that we had some fancy band-aids that Abe had designed.

I said, "No, they are actually the color of Abe's skin." She looked puzzled. I said, "Have you ever noticed at the drugstore that most band-aids are peach, pink, or beige colored? Doesn't that seem unfair to all the people who have dark skin?" She said she'd never thought about it. As she peeled open the packaging, she smiled when she saw the color.

She eagerly put it on her ankle and ran to tell her friend about her "Abe-colored band-aid."

Today at a birthday party on our block, she ran up to me with a huge smile to show me her ankle, saying, "Hey look! The band-aid has stayed on since you gave it to me yesterday!" Later in the afternoon, her friend came in our house with a tiny scrape on her finger and asked for a band-aid. Before I handed it to her, she checked to make sure it was one of the "Abe-colored ones." I said it was. She wore it proudly, showing everyone.

I'm not exactly sure what I think about the girls' eagerness to wear our dark brown band-aids. It probably goes no deeper than their affection for Abe. I find it sweet, but I do hope that on some level, it has planted a seed in them of being able to see the world through the experience of their friend Abe, where even a simple thing like buying band-aids becomes more complicated than it does for them.


Eryn said...

wow. I never even realized the bandaid thing. Probably because I'm only allowed to buy Buzz Light year or Lightning McQueen these days :) You are educating me too.

Ladybugs appear said...

thanks for this insight.

Emma said...

I still remember noticing that about band aids when I was a little kid. I went to a school with kids from all over the world (university brat) and I also remember looking for crayons to match different peoples' skin tones. I know this might sound silly but I also choose to only buy make up if the company makes their foundation in a wide range of skin tones.

Beth said...

Where did you find brown bandaids? I have looked.

kn said...

Lovely. Those girls will look at life differently. Don't you love young children? Their openness.