Beauty beyond skin color… {a message to my daughter}

I can only hope that women such as Miss Lupita Nyong’o and others will positively influence my daughter as she matures. Miss A is nearly four and she is already aware of her brown skin. She mentions it often and asks to look like me. She strokes my hair and some days I catch her pulling at her own locks and asking when they will be longer like mine. My responsibility to her runs deep. She is my daughter and we are uniquely close. Her shared thoughts are similar to when my boys were young yet with MIss A I am forced to examine the notion of color and difference not because I want to but because she was born on another continent where God created her perfectly and wonderfully.  We want her to know her heritage and we want her to embrace her inner beauty and how what is on the inside is often what is shown to others on the outside. I want her to love and admire her uniqueness without believing that a fair complexion or long straight hair makes life more fulfilling or easy. I want nothing more than to know the very best way to honor every person for the gifts and character he or she possess. It is my passion that Miss A be reminded often that her value and self-worth comes from something so much more than the pigment of her skin. I thought I would perhaps have many more years before Miss A began to see herself through the lens of color but she has surprised us with a self awareness far beyond her years. So here is an eloquent speech that might be over her little head for now but someday very soon she might need to listen and I look forward to our discussion.  Like it or not we all stare, we all wonder, we all compare and we certainly judge. It seems to be a built-in part of being human yet I am most interested in what happens immediately after the look or the awareness. Can we embrace the person who might look different from ourselves? Can we see beauty without judgemental eyes.? Can we tolerate differences and be grateful that the world does not all look the same? This is the hope for my children and all children around our ever-changing world.  I will fight to show my daughter various examples of character, compassion and intelligence in both men and women of all ethnicities and every day I will remind her that beauty is always fleeting. It is only heart and soul that remain…

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