Black Is Not Beautiful.

I was absolutely stunned and speechless around this time last week when my astoundingly beautiful dark skinned four year old allowed those four words to stroll out of her mouth.

Completely astonished, all I could say at that point was,  “that is simply not true.” I just found myself wondering where she could have heard such a thing.

A short few days later she dissolved to tears simply because her hair couldn’t shake like the lovely long plaits of her equally dark skinned best friend. This time around I probed  some more to see where her mind was really at.

The conversation started with me asking her if she wanted her hair in corn rows or singles.  and she carefully explained to me that she wanted big plaits just like her best friend’s (whose name so happens to be incredibly similar to hers). I then explained to her that it was not possible as their hair was not the same lenght or texture.

As it turned out she did not think that her short hair was pretty, and she in  turn gave me a list of the children in her pre-school group that she deemed had pretty hair.

This is where I decided it was time for a chat. A little later the evening I explained to my little angel that every colour in the entire universe was beautiful and each colour and person, though unique, has a purpose. I then explained that no matter the texture or length of a persons hair doesn’t make it any more or less beautiful than the other, The important thing is to keep it healthy.


I plan to have multiple convos and activities with her about these topics.

I must say the last person I expected to hear those statements from was a four year old.

How would you handle a similar situation?


This entry was written by chamaradh and published on April 10, 2013 at 10:09 pm. It’s filed under Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

11 thoughts on “Black Is Not Beautiful.

  1. Wow! That must be hard to hear…. and at 4 …. wow ….

    You know I’m in the beginning stages of my own journey to grow out my natural locs … fully embracing them and myself. I definitely would be spending a lot of time talking to her, and I would take her around our friends – many of whom have natural hair… so she can experience how many different styles and configurations it would be beautiful in. It is sad that this is still being felt at such a primary level that a 4 year old would think this way… especially when her mother’s locs are so gorgeous….

  2. Firstly, you are a wonderful, insightful, and amazing mother, and being able to have these conversations about complex identity issues without going crazy yourself is a huge accomplishment and I have to applaud you for that.

    Secondly, it’s crazy how complex children are and how early self-meaning, identity issues happen. It’s beautiful, though, to see children being deep thinkers without even knowing it, to see how the brain develops as they grow so quickly… it’s really amazing, all of it. I know it must have been so hard to have this conversation with her, but how you handle it seems the right way!

    Modern Family had a similar episode last week with adopted Vietnamese daughter Lily saying she was “gay” because her two dads were, which shocked everyone in the family, and suddenly proclaiming she hated Vietnam when they tried to introduce her to her culture via a Vietnamese restaurant. A silly foible, a over-generalized and kind of inappropriate look at a very complex and sensitive issue, but it’s nice to see a family show tackle issues of identity, meaning and love.

    I’m not a mom yet. But I’m also darker skinned, and I hope I can handle these things OK when I finally do have children. Sending love.

  3. WOW! I am SO sorry she (and you) has to deal with this so early. I think you are on the right path by keeping a conversation open with her regularly. I don’t know much to do beyond that. Just tugs at my heart.

  4. My friend just had a similar incident with her 4 year old – and was stunned. Soooo young!! Sounds like you did just the right thing – keep at it!

  5. I think you handled it beautifully, keep doing what you are doing 🙂

  6. You handled this with so much grace and sensitivity. Your daughter is lucky to have a mom like you who will educate her around these sticky issues in a way that is truly loving. With much admiration, Wendy

  7. You handled it Beautifully – congrats! I’m also astounded that came from a 4yr old.. out of the mouths of babes 🙂
    Continue to take in your child and tune into her – you have a lot to learn from one another.

  8. I think you are already on the right track. I remember as a child always wanting to be blond and tall, not brunette and short. My mum just kept having gentle conversations with me, teaching me that being me was beautiful.

  9. I think you handled that with wisdom and grace. Just keep reinforcing the message.

  10. Parenting. FIrst they are four and then 19 like mine, and always trying to finesse, and somehow share some experience or truth we see. I enjoyed the responses and the realness of the situation you described. It also might be interesting to show her hair from different cultures, as well as yours, both in person, as noted in a comment above, and in books. And this coudl even bring up a discssion about uniqueness of every person – no two alike in all the history of humans in this universe….at her level, of course.

  11. This is an amazing post. The vulnerability and humility is wonderful. As the adoptive mother of a bi-racial daughter I’m very interested in all of this. I think your daughter is amazingly blessed to have a mom who is unafraid to talk her through these kinds of issues. Keep blogging; I want to learn from you!

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