It was a regular afternoon, I had picked up my kid from school and we were sitting on the couch as dinner cooked. I had just retrieved the mail and a giant toy catalog had arrived. This was about to be her second Christmas and this year, she had a better understanding of the concept, so I thought “why not!?” and handed it to her to look at. She flipped through the pages mesmerized by the colors and pictures.
After dinner, I sat down next to her and went through it with her. I asked her what she liked and spoke to the new things she had never seen before. When we flipped to the page on Star Wars, she pointed right at Darth Vader. She looked at me with her curious eyes and in her little voice told me that was a monster.
For most, this might seem completely harmless, even accurate in fact. But my heart sunk. This little person had never experienced Star Wars. It was not quite the fad yet at school and we don’t own anything with Star Wars on it. My heart told me I had to ask her. “Why is this a monster?” She just shrugged. So then I asked her, “is it because he is black?” She nodded quickly, looking at me with her eyes, thanking me for understanding even though she was too little to share the inner workings of her brain.
My heart felt heavy. “It’s already starting,” is what I was thinking.
But then I thought, “not my kid.”
I looked at her curious face and asked her, “what color is our puppy?”
“Black!”, she replied.
“Is she a monster?” I asked.
“No,” she responded with some confusion.
I wrapped my arms around her and said, “just because someone or something is black doesn’t make it a monster, okay!?”
“Okay!” she responded, and flipped the page.