Since February is Black History Month, I was asked to do this article on that
subject. If we have to create a special day for black people, we have already
separated mankind. If anyone has been awake in the last year you will know that
the subject of diversity has taken a more serious road. Unfortunately, politics is
always the wedge. I do not intend to talk politics today, though.
When my grandson Robert was introduced to my friend Darlene, he was
immediately her best friend. They played soccer and ran around like old friends.
After she had left, he said to me, “Nana, I didn’t know you had a friend with a
black face”. I thought that was a cute thing to say.
And then a few months later, Robert told me he had a new kid in his class called
Thomas. I remembered recently meeting a little boy from China who lived next
door with his mother, and I thought that might be the same boy. I asked my
grandson if Thomas was Chinese and he asked, “What is that?” I suddenly
realized that Robert had not been introduced to racial differences. And as a child,
without the biased opinions of other people, he would never be introduced to
As a child in England, I had a black dolly. I called it Boco and I had that doll for
most of my life. There is a story around Boco. When I was five years old, a set of
conjoined twins was born in Africa. We called them the siamese twins of Africa. A
doctor was to perform surgery to separate them and it was a likely chance that
they would both die. The doctor did an amazing job and one of them lived, she
was named Boco.
I was so overjoyed that a baby survived that I begged for a black doll that I could call Boco. I didn’t want the doll because she was black, I wanted the doll because she represented Boco, the miracle child. At that time, I did not know that thousands of black people had been sold as slaves beginning in the 1600th century. Today, I wonder where we went wrong in taking segments of society and isolating them because they were different and considered ‘less than’.
My grandson and I have had a few discussions on why the people of the world
have different coloured skin. We explained the skin pigment and the hours of sun
and temperatures around the world that the human body has to adapt to. It is still
a little confusing to him even if he is a brilliant boy. After all, he is only seven. For
a short while, he will entertain the idea that if he had been born at the equator, he
would have had black skin regardless of his parents. He is so cute
By Janet Robinson