An Experiment in Perception

“So, how was your first day of camp?” I asked my five year old daughter after picking her up from her half day of March Break camp.

“Good.”

“Well, what did you do?”

“Crafts.”

“You mean like the paper gold medal around your neck.” I said, pointing at the HUGE construction paper ‘medal’ she was sporting. She nodded.

I needed a new tack because this line of engagement wasn’t getting me anywhere.

“So what are your counsellors names?” In truth, I knew who they were already, but in the aim of furthering our talk…

“They are coaches, mommy.” She admonished me in that ‘don’t be such a dork’ tone that she takes on at times; like when I’m being

a dork, apparently. Her camp is sports themed and dominated by little boys, a fact that bothers her not one whit.

“Well excuuuuseee me…. what are the names of the coaches?”

“There is Coach Aaron and Coach Darrell.”

“Which one is Coach Aaron?”  Again, I knew the answer already but I wanted to see what she said. Aaron is African-American. Nikki’s school is pretty white, so I wanted to know how she would describe him, not having had a ton of exposure to other races.

“He is the one with the black hair,” (both coaches have black hair) “and he has metal on his teeth. What are those things, mommy?” “Braces.”

So interestingly, his ethnicity was not a defining feature for her.  Whether she noticed it or not, race appeared to make not a bit of difference to her. I love that. I love that kids are born oblivious to differences in race, culture, sex, whatever differences we have. That’s not what they care about AT ALL and more power to them.

“Do you like your coaches?”

“Uh huh.”

“Why?” (cue the open ended questions her teacher asked me to push on to get her ‘thinking’)

“They’re fun.”

Fundamentally, that’s all that matters, isn’t it?

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