Why I Won’t Have A Conversation About Race With My 3 Year Old

The other morning I was curious if my three year old would even understand the color of skin. I asked him what color are you? He responded blue. I asked him what color is Miss Karen? He said pink. I then asked him what color is Miss Betty? He said purple. One person in the mix is black and after asking him again the color of skin and pointing out that one was black, he said no she isn’t she is purple and was very adamant about it. I asked him again later in the day the same question and he responded with the exact colors as earlier. I pulled out his crayons and showed him different colors to be sure he indeed understood them and he named them all without error.

I thought about his responses a bit more and what the colors represent in the spiritual world and how he may be seeing the persons “color”. After researching it makes perfect sense. Karen is pink which represents the color of love and compassion. Anyone that knows Miss Karen will agree that you will not find a more compassionate and loving soul, so pink is no doubt her “color”. Miss Betty is purple which represents the color of spirituality and imagination. Miss Betty is an amazing artist and loves the Lord dearly, so again a perfect “color” for her.

Children see the World Differently than adults and has been proven time and time again. They are more sensitive to the spiritual world and I believe that is what my little one see’s when he looks at people.

He is 3 and the best way to discuss race is through exposure not deep conversation. When he plays with his friends who are black, brown, and white his exposure and experiences will be his teacher. He has books, watches T.V. shows and is exposed to culture and that is his teacher.

So what if we just stopped having the “race” conversation with little’s and what it means to be black, white, brown, yellow you get the point? What if we just went on and taught them to treat people equally? What if the conversations to our younger generation, when the time is appropriate, is we are all alike and God created us the same but with all the colors of the palette. Not Color Blind, but Color Accepted.

Would this cause a shift in the world and would racism all but diminish? What if I see you as a person and you see me as a person and not black or white?

I am not saying to not educate about history at all! I am a firm believer that history must be taught so that it doesn’t repeat itself.

I don’t know all the answers but I have been on this world a pretty good time now and something has to change because the way it has been, isn’t working. We can’t expect it to be better for the next generation if we don’t change the narrative.

I know eventually I will have to have conversations with him about race and injustices but for now, I will allow Coop to see “color” the way his eyes and heart perceive things. I will not tarnish his view with adult eyes and will allow his innocence to remain for as long as I possibly can.






  • mindyourmanders

    I stumbled upon this blog post on Pinterest, and felt like like I needed to say my piece. I am a 23 year old white female now, and my parents never had the “race conversation” with me. They did say the classic – everyone is made equal, be color-blind, etc. My parents are wonderful parents and wonderful people, but given recent events, I talked to my mom about this. She said that she regretted never talking to me about it. If we never tell the young generation that racism still exists, how can we expect them to speak up for those who are experiencing it? There are right ways to talk about race with young children. As white people, we have the privilege to not HAVE to have these conversations to keep our children safe; Black people do not have that privilege. The least we can do is give our children the tools to fight for equity alongside BIPOC.

    • themamalife

      I appreciate your feedback and it is interesting hearing from someone that did not have conversation about race when younger. When Coop is older he will definitely be taught the history of the world. He is of Native American & Irish decent and will have a thorough understanding of what it means to be different and the prejudices that happened and still happen today. He will not be raised to be color blind but color accepted. Those conversations will not happen now however, as he is 3. So many are pushing parents to have these conversations very early on and that is where I refuse. I will let him be innocent until the time comes to have conversations with him and that was my point in writing this piece. Thank you again for your comments it is definitely helpful for how I will talk with him when he is older.

      • mindyourmanders

        Thank you for your thoughtful response! I love how you said “He will not be raised to be color blind but color accepted” – such a beautiful way to word that.

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