Saturday, September 27, 2008

New Poll: Discussing Skin Color

I'm curious about how transracial adoptive parents describe skin color -- their own or their child's. The idea for the poll was spurred by Zoe's choice of dark brown marker to color her skin for her self-portrait. It's been my experience that my kids see their skin as darker than it really is. I wonder what that's about?

Has your child asked what color her skin is? Mine have. Two resources we've used to discuss it is The Color of Us by Karen Katz and Multicultural Crayons from Crayola. What has helped you explain?


Wendy said...

Madeline had a month or so where she was really into checking everyone's skins color--she was almost four. She mentions it every now and then, but now it is more of a matter of fact statment whether than a question.

I do not agree with idea that people are white, red, yellow, brown, etc. We have all hues even among ethnic groups. My BIL is bi-racial (Native American and French) so he and two of my sister's kids have and get even deeper tans in the summer. My nephew got our Dutch skin--more pink with peachy tones. We discuss skin color in this way in our home and the reasons we do not use the terms mentioned above. I have never seen a red person, unless you count my aunt when she got sun poisoning and an extreme burn! I have also never seen a yellow or totally white person.
One thing I do is use multiple colors when I color people and so does M, we also have multicultural crayons as they are more representative of real skin tones. I don't think any of us can be boxed into a color and also we change color with exposure to the sun. Just my take.

SB said...

When we do refer to her skin colour, we usually just call it "dark" or "darker". I may have used "brown" a few times as well. I refer to my skin colour as olive (I'm of Hungarian and Dutch descent), and my husband and bio-son's as translucent white or "pale".

Dee said...

My daughter first started verbalizing her observations about different skin colors when she was 3 years old. She was born in China. We have used "golden brown" (in warmer, sunnier times of year) or "light tan" to describe her skin color. I am of central European descent, while my husband is of English/Irish descent. So I usually describe my skin color as "light or medium tan" depending on season. My husband is more light peach. I do want to get both the Crayola multicultural markers and pencils so that DD can have more choices when drawing pictures of people, herself included.

wblossom said...

K & E usually refer to their skin as brown and Mike's as white and mine as white with brown sprinkles (a.k.a.freckles), it is interesting because they just started really noticing skin color and for the 1st time are beginning to describe people by their skin color among other things of course.