I can understand why R’s Mom’s asked, ‘Why This?‘
We have had various versions of this conversation, many times.
Brat Three: “I am so black!!!!” (with a look of disgust at her own reflection in the mirror)
IHM: (Pretending to have missed her disgust) “Yes Not black though, you are dark brown I think. Nice colour.”
She was shocked when she heard this the first time.
Brat Three: “It’s ugly. I like white.”
IHM: “White is nice too, but why don’t you like dark brown?”
Brat Three: “See? My arms, legs, face are all black… darkbrown. I am so ugly.”
IHM: “You are not ugly! You look nice. You have lovely dark brown skin…”
Brat Three: “If you like darkbrown so much, you take it.”
I tried telling her:
“We are all various shades of brown, whatever colour we are born with, we live with that. Some people like their own colour, some don’t but it can’t be changed. Hair colour can be changed, and even eye colour can be changed. Why don’t you like dark brown? It’s a pretty colour.”
Or something like this:
“Some people like pink, some blue, some green, right? Some people like ice cream, some like pani poori, same way some people like dark brown, some black, some golden, some white.”
Also showed her pictures of good looking, dark skinned women, not always pointing out the skin colour, just letting her see for herself.
Then last week:
Brat Three: “My face looks ‘lighter’ in hot sun, then I look nice.” (Looking very happy about this)
IHM: “Even if you play in very hot sun, you won’t get a sun burn, because dark brown skin has lots of melanin. Dark skin is made for playing in the sun :)”
Brat Three: “Sun burn….? What is melanin?” (Surprised but, surprisingly, delighted.)
She delighted me too with her surprise. Finally I knew what to say.
IHM: “The more the melanin, the darker the skin. Those who live in cold places don’t need melanin, because they don’t have strong sun. Those who need to face strong sun need more melanin in their skin, or else the sun can cause sun burn. You can generally play in the sun without fearing sun burn. Most probably you won’t get wrinkles till you are really old, maybe fewer spots too!” [link]
And for the first time she didn’t look disgusted
This delight was different from when she woke up one morning to find that Tooth Fairy had taken away her tooth and left her a blue pony she had asked for…
When she had said in astonishment, “Tooth Fairy likes darkbrown!”
Still earlier, sometime around October last year when she first noticed that the moon was ‘following her’ during our evening walks and said in astonishment, “Moon follows me! Moon likes me……. Dark Brown.”
What would you do?
Why This? – R’s Mom
Fat is Beautiful, Short is Sweet – Rekha
I am dark, hear me roar! – Sangitha