grace, love, race, reconciliation

A Conversation with a 5-Year-Old White Girl on Race

July 20, 2015

Conversation wa white girlI got the inbox message a few days ago. An author friend reached out, saying she had a “strange situation/question.” Her five-year-old daughter had had a sleepover with cousins, and there was another five-year-old cousin there with whom she wasn’t familiar—an adopted black girl. When my friend asked how it went, she got this response:

“I don’t like her, Mommy. I don’t like anyone with black skin.”

My friend wanted to weep. She had worked to instill a love for all people in her daughter, and I certainly knew my friend to have that spirit. In her words, “I have zero idea where this came from but the pit itself.”

My friend tried to reason with her, starting with their cats—one black, the other white/gray. Was one better than the other? “They’re both perfect, Momma!” So she asked why it was a great thing for God to bring beauty in color for kitties and not people. Her daughter replied, “They’re cats, Momma. They’re supposed to be different.”

My friend was desperate at this point, praying for wisdom. She asked, “So if God created people to look different and be different colors, why would you not like someone who isn’t just like you?”

The little girl’s face fell. She got quiet. Then she said:

“Momma, I’m just not around people with dark skin. Ever. So I don’t understand.”

My friend acknowledged that this was true, as they live in an area of the country with few black people. So she took her daughter to my Facebook page, showed her my pictures, told her we were friends, and tried to explain the value in that. Her daughter replied, “Mommy, maybe Kim could explain it.”

And that was my friend’s request, that I record a video to her daughter explaining, in essence, the value of people of all skin colors.

It wasn’t an easy task. I had to pray. How do you take a complex issue like race, one that many adults would rather avoid, and make it simple and straightforward enough for a five-year-old to understand?

This morning I sent my friend the little video I’d recorded on my phone. I told her the message sounded so basic, but I was praying that God would use it.

Then later, I realized something. When it comes to the complexities of race, historical prejudices that bleed into present day, and an enemy who thrives on racial division—sometimes you have to go back to the basics.

And basic truth is truth no matter the age.

I’ve embedded the video below, edited for the blog to delete her name.  I also told her at the end that I would love to meet her, and I mentioned her location, which has also been deleted.

Late this afternoon, my friend sent a short recorded video of her daughter. At the end, her daughter said this:

“Even though you have black skin, God created you. I love you. Amen.” She giggled, and added, “I mean, bye bye.”

Tears welled in my eyes. My friend told me she smiled bigger and bigger as she watched, and shooed her brothers out of the room so she could listen. She wants to meet me too. My heart swelled with thanksgiving to God.

I share all of this with my friend’s permission. We both felt there might be other kids out there like her daughter.  Perhaps they could listen too. And maybe even some adults. Because sometimes, five-year-old girls grow into thirty-year-old women who aren’t around people with dark skin. Ever. Perhaps they too could benefit from truth even a child can understand.

Yes, sometimes all you need are the basics. And a conversation. And a God who created and loves us all.

 

 

 

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24 Comments

  • Reply Rhonda J. Smith July 21, 2015 at 5:29 am

    Beautiful! Your heart for this little girl was so evident. I can see why she said she loves you. And the video transcends age because, as you said in so many words, older people–white and other colors–need this lesson. Thank you for helping your friend and sharing with us.

    • Reply Kim Cash Tate July 22, 2015 at 8:03 pm

      Rhonda, I’m so glad you felt the video transcends age. I in no way thought that when I filmed it. But sometimes adults can use a refresher in the basics as well. Thanks so much for your kind word, sis.

  • Reply Shan July 21, 2015 at 7:11 am

    True teaching is simplifying the complex. You are truly gifted at what you do, Kim. So refreshing!

    • Reply Kim Cash Tate July 22, 2015 at 8:05 pm

      Shan, you know it’s all God. He amazes me because I went three or four days having no idea what to say. I just kept praying. Then after church on Sunday, the words came so fast I was writing them down at a red light. I love when He moves like that, and it leaves me now doubt that it had nothing to do with me. ;-) Thankful for your encouragement!

  • Reply Renee Jefferson July 21, 2015 at 8:47 am

    Wonderful.

    • Reply Kim Cash Tate July 22, 2015 at 8:05 pm

      Praise God, Renee!

  • Reply Ginger July 21, 2015 at 9:53 am

    Not an easy message to interpret for a 5-year-old. Great job, Kim! I also applaud her mom for taking immediate action. Exposure opens the door to compassion for all of God’s children.

    • Reply Kim Cash Tate July 22, 2015 at 8:07 pm

      Hey Ginger! No, not easy at all! I spent several days praying because I had no idea what to say. So thankful to God for the words. YES, I commended her mom as well! She operated in much wisdom.

  • Reply Rachel Hauck July 21, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    I love this!! So good! Excellent!! Thank goodness her mother got on this right away instead of blowing it off as childishness.

    Love!
    Rachel

    • Reply Kim Cash Tate July 22, 2015 at 8:09 pm

      Rachel, so true! She could have easily blown it off as childishness, but instead, jumped right into action. So awesome! And love seeing you on the blog! <3

  • Reply alli July 21, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    you did good.

    • Reply Kim Cash Tate July 22, 2015 at 8:09 pm

      Praise God!

  • Reply Simone Cato July 21, 2015 at 9:09 pm

    Great job communicating a complex but basic truth so well for a 5 year old. I am going to share this with some other kiddos very dear to my heart.

    Thanks Kim.

    • Reply Kim Cash Tate July 22, 2015 at 8:12 pm

      Oh, so thankful that you have other kiddos you can share this with. Praise God! And thanks so much for your encouragement. :)

  • Reply Tamara D. Davis July 22, 2015 at 7:22 am

    So beautiful and a great reminder of how important we ALL are to Him!

    • Reply Kim Cash Tate July 22, 2015 at 8:12 pm

      It’s just really that important, isn’t it? We are ALL important to Him. Amen!

  • Reply Danielle July 22, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    This was beautiful….what courageous actions by this young girl’s mama and by you. Gentle words to change hearts.

    • Reply Tamara D. Davis July 22, 2015 at 3:42 pm

      Hi Danielle!

      • Reply Danielle July 22, 2015 at 3:50 pm

        Hey Tam! How are ya?!?! :)

    • Reply Kim Cash Tate July 22, 2015 at 8:14 pm

      That’s exactly what we were praying, Danielle….for words to change her heart. Only God. Her mom was truly courageous in taking action like that. I applauded her. I kept thinking that this is a moment in time in this little girl’s life that could really be impactful. Lord, help! :) So good to see you here, my friend. <3

      • Reply Danielle July 23, 2015 at 9:34 am

        Hey Kim! :) Yes, I give her mom a lot of credit. Would have been easy to ignore the comment or just think “she’ll grow out of it.” This was an important time in this little girl’s life, and I pray she and her family (and many others) are blessed by that video.

        It’s good to be here – I’ve missed you!

        • Reply Tamara D. Davis July 23, 2015 at 9:40 am

          All is well Danielle and I concur with your statements.

  • Reply Totally_Tikisha July 23, 2015 at 4:55 pm

    Kim I’m in tears. If, as adults, we can connect on such a basic HUMAN level of love like you described, the enemies plan in racism would be DESTROYED! Bless God for you and this video and the heart of the sweet little girl that you blessed who will in turn bless others! I bless God for her mom for having the heart to make it right and not be embarrassed!

    • Reply Danielle July 23, 2015 at 5:45 pm

      So true! This is an awesome response, Tikisha! God breaks it down just like that in 1 Corinthians 13:13…..the greatest of these is LOVE.

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