Jacob and I were getting ready for bed last night when he heard the horrific story of the shooting at the US Holocaust Museum. He asked me why someone shot the police officer. I tried explaining that sometimes people don't like someone because of the color of their skin or how they believe in God and Jesus. Jacob looked sad and confused. He asked if people sometimes don't like me because of the color of my skin. I told him that yes, that does happen but in this case it was because the police officer had brown skin like him.
Jacob stated that it was bad to only look at someone's color and I told him he was right. That people should only consider if the person is nice and fun not whether they look a certain way or a certain color. We went on to discuss what to do if somone said something mean about the way he looks. He agreed that he should tell a teacher or me and then find someone nice to play with.
The whole conversation left me sad. Sad that we live in a world where I have to prepare my son for the comments I know he will hear someday. For comments made only because his skin has more pigmentation than mine and not because of the type of person he is inside. I was sad for the things M may hear someday because his family is multi-racial and multi-cultural. I was also sad that a three-year-old boy was left wondering why that bad man shot someone just because he had skin like his.
I love the different colors and cultures that make up my family. We get to explore many different cultures within our family and within our friends. I wouldn't trade any of it for anything and I hope my children also grow up to celebrate our family's uniqueness. I also hope I will live to see the day when my children don't have to worry about teaching their children about racism and hatred. Instead, it will just be something covered in history books. Ahh, that will be a great day.
For now, I take comfort in knowing my son loves his brown skin and Ethiopian culture. He is proud of his birth country and his family today. He loves his brother, M. Whether M stays or not, he will always be a member of this family and Jacob's first American brother. Despite their skin colors, they share a lot in common. Starting with their love for eachother and their love for our family.