My ds1 (6 yo) innocently asked me to pass him the "skin colour" pencil yesterday (Light Peach). That alarmed me and I said straight away "skin colour? What do you mean? There is no one skin colour. There are lots of different skin colours"- and then I went into a rambling lecture about diversity and tolerance and race while he just stared at me and blinked. I don't think I handled it well. Any tips for how I should respond next time? I asked him why he called it that and he said his friends at school do. It just doesn't seem right. Sorry if this has already been hashed out as an issue- please link to thread if so!
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20-07-2015 12:53 #1
"Skin colour" pencils/crayons & teaching diversity
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20-07-2015 13:13 #2
It's an interesting one; I grew up calling it 'skin colour' too. It seemed the norm, and I'm pretty sure it was my parents and teachers who I got it from, along with other kids.
As an adult, I actually thought about it, and call that colour 'peach' with my kids. So far DD (nearly 3) still calls it peach, but I can definitely see how kids would pick that up.
Ideal response in my view? Ask why, then calmly point out that there are lots of different skin colours. Ask whether they think that's fair to people who have skin of a different colour (kids at that age tend to be big on fairness!).
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20-07-2015 13:23 #3
I also remember calling 'peach' pencils 'skin colour' as a kid and I went to a multicultural school that specialised in teaching English to immigrants and there were plenty of non-Caucasian kids in my class. There was definitely no malice intent at the time.
Now that I think about it, it was quite wrong....
20-07-2015 13:49 #4
Interested to see responses.
This actually came up the other day when I was colouring with DD aged 4. She asked me to pass her a colour (the 'peach' one) and I automatically went to say 'oh the skin colour one?'. I stopped myself because at that exact moment in my life I realised that really isn't the right name for it. I have always referred to it as 'skin colour' not ever really realising what that was saying.
I ended up just passing it to her without ecen mentioning the colour name.
20-07-2015 13:51 #5
I always called it skin colour in school too..maybe because its my skin colour? I dont know!
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20-07-2015 13:52 #6
This is the picture I use to discuss it with my students:
ImageUploadedByThe Bub Hub1437367925.600052.jpg
I also challenge it every time someone asks for the skin colour meaning pink. It's about awareness and finding teachable moments I think :-)
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20-07-2015 14:44 #7
My 6Yo DD and I discussed this a little while ago. Obviously there was no malice intended but I wasn't happy with her calling it skin colour and we talked about why. I pointed out a few of her friends have different coloured skin to her and asked how it would make her feel if they referred to black/brown pencils as skin coloured? She thought it would make her feel a bit yucky but couldn't explain why. Which is totally ok, she's 6!
So proud of her because she is now leading the class and pulls her friends up when they ask for a skin coloured pencil. "Oh you mean you'd like a cream colour?!"
20-07-2015 15:33 #8
Honestly, I think youre makimg too big a deal about it (sorry, no offence intended!) He called it skin colour, because it is the colour of his skin. I would maybe just talk about how different people have different coloured (shade) of skin, and different coloured eyes, hair, some are tall, short,etc. We are all different. It doesnt need to be a big thing, or a big deal. My DD once asked about the girl with 'dirty' skin (she was 3 at the time.) Totally innocent. I told her the skin was not dirty, just a darker colour than her own skin. We talked about diversity very matter of factly.
20-07-2015 15:46 #9
If my 6yo dd asked for the skin colour pencil I would have said its actually called peach colour and not thought too much more of it
20-07-2015 16:25 #10Senior Member
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I also think you're making too big a deal about it. I often hear of parents overreacting when it comes to 'racism' with their kids.
IME if you act really nonplussed about it, your kids will too. Diversity will just be a normal part of their lives, because it's never really been made an issue. If that makes sense?
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