Pre-schoolers are aware of race and colour, but their innocent perceptions may differ from those of their parents.
One afternoon, a father arrived at the after-care and said to a six year old:
"Hello, I'm Simon's dad and I've come to fetch him. Please could you find him for me?"
"Okay. Simon's my friend."
"I'll come with you," the dad replied.
"Simon," the little boy called. "Your dad's here. Why didn't you tell me he was black?"
Some time ago, I was a tuck shop mom, and every morning we received a list, which was placed in colour coded baskets.
Teacher Marie's basket was red, Teacher Isobel's was green and so on.
During the mid-morning break, two monitors per class, displaying badges of honour, would hop and skip towards the counter.
"Morning Ma'am, we've come to fetch our food."
As the baskets were ready for collection, I asked:
"What colour are you?"
Obviously I did not make myself clear and it was bound to happen.
They looked at each other and then back at me as though I was daft.
The girl pointed to the boy, who nodded in agreement, and said, very seriously:
"Ma'am, he is black and I am white."
Their teacher arrived later.
"What happened here?"
We all had a good laugh.
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