Through my Daughter’s Eyes
And my daughter thinks I’m black.
I’m totally serious. I’m a little tan, but definitely not black. I’m going to dispel any initial conclusions that might be thought up. We live in a very diverse, multi-racial area – definitely not the Midwestern Suburbs. We’re not in a white land where being a little tan is interpreted by innocent eyes as black. Nope, it’s not that. I do have a deep voice and somewhat curly hair, but it’s still white guy hair.
This started from the moment my daughter was old enough to draw people with a crayon. In pre-school we’d get back these drawing from school and while everyone else got the pink, yellow, or cream crayon, I was always colored with the dark brown crayon.
At parent teacher conferences there was always a little bit of confusion, as we went through her artwork – like, “Is someone else not here?”
- “Nope I’d say – I think that’s supposed to be me.”
Huh is right. I have no idea where this came from, but we figured it would end at some point. Kindergarten, first grade, second…
At a certain point I thought she was messing with us. Although we tried to keep our wide-eyed reactions hidden from her maybe she saw them at some point.
It was in third grade while my daughter was watching The Butler with my wife and son that things came to a head. I was out of town and received the following over a text.
- “We were watching The Butler and Elin (our daughter) started crying.”
- “Oh no – was she okay?”
- “When I asked her what was the matter she replied, ‘were people ever mean to daddy?’”
- “Oh my God,” I texted.
- “While trying to hold back the laughter I replied, ‘Sweetie – daddy isn’t black.’
- ‘Yes he is.’
- ‘No, he’s not.’
- ‘He is too.’ I could see I wasn’t going to convince her,” she texted me.
- “No way,” I replied.
Then a couple months later our daughter goes in for her eye exam. After the exam the doctor tells my wife that our daughter has a slight bit of colorblindness. No way, she thinks.
- “So is there any chance she might actually see her tan dad as black?”
- “Yes – she sees certain hues slightly off. So if your husband has any bit of red (I do) to the tint of his skin, she would interpret that as a much darker color.”
My daughter actually believes she’s living in a bi-racial family. Don’t know what to say about that, but for the moment there doesn’t seem to be any way of convincing her otherwise.
Could this be the ultimate form of colorblindness?