While eating breakfast a couple of days ago, Katy and I had an interesting discussion. We wondered if Leila would be considered a minority here in the U.S. Would she even be considered a person of color? We both could see how a plausible case could be made from both sides of the fence. I LOVE that we don’t really have an answer for it.
Lately, another observation we have made is that when we read books to Leila, she has begun to identify characters in her book with people she knows. She always has to find “mama,” “dada,” or “eeila.” This inevitably leads to some hilarious moments at our home. Katy is often times shocked at what Leila points at. And more often than not, I am picked as the one white guy in the book. She sometimes will also find her uncles, aunts, cousins, and friends in these books too. The very curious aspect of this game is that when it comes to identifying herself in her books, Leila almost always picks a character who is dark-skinned. I find this absolutely fascinating. Most people, when they see Leila, do not immediately think of her as dark-skinned. She is often referred to as tan or olive complexioned.
In both cultures that make up Leila, being fair-skinned has its own advantages. There is often an under-lying assumption made that beauty lies in lighter skin tones. Lighter skin often also means an altered status in society, and being a part of the group with better options in life. This is where I find Leila’s self-identification fascinating. She identifies herself as a person of color! Not that she has any societal pressures to conform to anything at this point. 🙂 I still think it is amazing that she lives in a pre-dominantly Caucasian town, and yet, seems to think she looks different. I wonder if this is something that we will find to always be the case, or if at some point, she’ll want to blend in. It makes for a curious and fascinating case-study! (At least for me!).
This picture was taken last week…