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On My Mind
May 2018

From the Mouths of Babes: Preschool Racism

Author Affiliations
  • 1Mary Ann & J. Milburn Smith Child Health Research Program, Division of Academic General Pediatrics, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
  • 2Department of Pediatrics, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois
JAMA Pediatr. 2018;172(5):411. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2017.3934

“Mommy, sometimes I’m white,” my bright-eyed, 4-year-old, caramel-skinned son said sweetly as he looked up at me from his dinner plate. He said it without judgment, just rather matter-of-factly. He was sharing his reality with me. Confronted with multiple feelings rushing through my head and heart, I simply said: “Why?” This is rather atypical for me. I would have normally convinced him how great it is to be Black—a person of the African diaspora, which includes our collective culture—and how he should be proud of who he is and what he looks like. But not this time; instead, I posed the question and listened.

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