With the Lights Off
I have a story to tell you. A story about racism.
I love to take one of the littles after bath time, even when Mama insists on asking me several times, “Do you want to take him? Or do you feel like you have to take him? Are you sure?”
My answer is always the same.
I want to take him because I love them! And it also helps procrastinate my chore of cleaning the kitchen.
Today, Jude got out of the bath first so I got him in his pjs, read him a story, said prayers, and told him Mom or Dad will be in soon to give him a kiss goodnight.
That’s when Jude asked me a question.
Jude: looking at his arm next to my arm. “Why is my skin browner than yours, Sissy?”
me: “Because you’re from Vietnam, Jude”
Jude: “Why are people from Vietnam browner?”
me: explaining it the only way I knew how, “Because that’s the way God made them.”
I dimmed the lights and shut the door a bit, thinking that was the end of the conversation, but as I was cracking the door he decided to sum up his thoughts on the subject.
Jude: “Sissy, what if we turned off all the lights? Everyone would be browner… right?”
me: “Yes, Jude. Everyone would be the same color. Goodnight, I love you.”
That last comment that really caught me off guard. How is it that my 4-year-old brother had captured the
essence and understood the subject of differences in ethnicity? Was it because he is a minority, and he knows what it feels like to be stared at? Was it the ethics he’s is being raised with? Is it just his personality to see truth? Had one of his classmates asked him about his “browner” skin? Whatever it was that made him think about color as simply color, he understands a concept that many adults still might not understand completely.
We should all strive to be a little more like Jude, and try think about the people we meet on a daily basis with the lights off.
Livy is a insightful 15-year-old sister to 6 siblings, 3 of which were adopted. Livy traveled with her parents to both Vietnam and China to adopt her three youngest siblings, and these trips changed her perspective on how she wants to live when she grows up. One day, she wants to be like her parents and have a big family. She hopes to be a nurse someday and work in the NICU with premature babies. Until then, she is saving her money to volunteer in an orphanage hopefully in the next couple years.