I have a nine year-old daughter with skin as white as snow, freckles sweeter than chocolate milk and the most beautiful, big, full, blondish afro. She was born from a black man and a Salvadoran woman, me;). She is the most beautiful little thing to me.
Curiosity is a fantastic thing. We are humans; we want to know about everything.
If we see something different, we stare. There is nothing wrong with that. However, there is a difference between curiosity and ignorance. We must learn those differences. Curiosity should be embraced, while ignorance should be erased.
My daughter is often approached and touched without her consent. Her hair is compared to cotton balls. She is asked what she is? She has been compared to a poodle, and the list goes on. Now, the good outweighs the bad, but today I’d want to share some little tips on how to not make a child uncomfortable.
Here are my answers to some of the questions I’ve been asked about my child before, and my take on some of the situations I’ve been placed in while in public with her. I hope this encourages curious people to approach children who look different with sensitivity.
- Unacceptable: What is she? She is a biracial human child. If you want to find out her cultural background then just ask that. Acceptable: What is her ethnicity?
- Unacceptable: Comparing her hair to cotton balls or any fluffy objects that feel or look dry. It’s offensive. She is a child. You can easily give her a complex when choosing poor similes. Acceptable: Her hair is so big and unique or beautiful.
- Unacceptable: Walking up to a child and touching him/her without his/her parents’ consent. My daughter does not like that, and because of how often it happens to her she highly dislikes crowds. Acceptable: Walk up to us and ask me if you can touch her hair. I’ll ask her and if she says yes, you may touch her hair. Keep comments positive and empowering.
Remember manners and respect. Children deserve as much respect as we adults do.
All children are beautiful and they all need to be embraced.
‘Til next time,