If you ever want to see what the world looks like through the eyes of a child, provide her with a piece of paper, pencil, crayon, perhaps colored markers, and a little alone time. Let me emphasize “alone time” (especially if Daddy is trying to finish watching the final three minutes of the Lakers – Thunders playoff game).
My five year-old daughter Anessa (who fancies herself the next Kehinde Wiley), recently drew a family portrait to illustrate what those beautiful, greenish brown eyes see when viewing our family.
The Laker game had ended, and as I made my way to freezer to retrieve yet another frozen schooner so that I could refill it with my favorite adult soda, my little girl came sprinting up to me to show the masterpiece she had just created within that three minute regulation period (damn she is good). Realizing that my day of watching sports was over, and that there was no way I would be able to sneak in the first three innings of the Dodger game, I immediately focused all of my attention on my daughter and the artwork that she had so proudly presented. When I looked down at the picture, an immediate smile followed by laughter overwhelmed me.
There I am, on the right side of the page, standing tall (and alone!); the tall, dark, and handsome black man with the blue shorts, orange shirt, and baseball glove. She definitely hit a home run with the accurate portrayal of her father.
My son Andrew is located to my left, directly next to the imaginary dog that we don’t own, appropriately dressed in the same outfit, looking as handsome and as dark as his father before him.
My beautiful and adoring Lebanese wife is the character with the light olive skin color, appropriately dressed in her fashionable “Seven” jeans and “C and C” blouse, standing right next to the sun flower that compliments her outfit.
And of course my darling daughter (Anessa) is positioned right next to her mommy, rocking a miniature version of mommy’s outfit, with baseball glove in tow, and amazing dark brown complexion. You may also observe the rolling green grass resembling that of the finest manicured fairways seen at Torey Pines; not to mention (my personal favorite), the trendy red door attached to the three- story home.
When my wife heard me laughing she immediately came down stairs to see what was going on. Upon viewing the picture, she too began to burst with laughter. Anessa appeared a bit confused, not sure why mommy and daddy continued to laugh as we passed the picture back and forth while analyzing each character. We finally turned to Anessa and asked her,” why is mommy the only white person on the picture?” She innocently stated, “because mommy, you are white, and me daddy and Andrew are brown.” Well if we weren’t laughing hard before, we were rolling on the floor after that comment. Anessa was obviously favoring daddy that day, because mommy was on the outside looking in. Her depiction of our family was at least fifty percent accurate in that daddy’s skin color is very, very brown, and mommy’s skin color is definitely an olive tint; but Andrew, Andrew has the lightest skin color of us all. The boy has blonde hair for Pete’s sake! (By the way I have no idea how that happened, but that is a different story for another day – Can you say mailman?) And yes, Anessa’s skin tone is a bit darker than her mother and brother, but far lighter than daddy.
The best part of it all, is my wife and I didn’t try and explain why each person is unique and different, no speeches about color or race, nothing about diversity and culture, no black, no white, no brown, none of that PC crap! We simply accepted her artwork as it was, and we laughed, and we laughed, and we laughed… Kids are the best!