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"little black girl" from my 3 year old?

My little girl just started day care full time so she's been hanging around lots of other kids for the first time. Last night, she was talking to me about the other kids at school. She started saying "that little black girl" and I said "what's her name?" She said the name of one of the kids and she's not even a "black" girl. She's a white kid. I know nobody in my family has ever described other people to her as black and white. I don't want her to see a color difference in people! How can I explain to a 3 year old that color is not a way to identify people?


Asked by Anonymous at 3:17 PM on Apr. 7, 2010 in Preschoolers (3-4)

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Answers (11)
  • When my oldest was 3, his bestfriend was my friend's son. He is biracial. One day we were taking them to the park and my James said 'why is Dante a brown boy and i'm a pink boy?' I told him that God makes us all different colors but we are still the same people. My friend and I got a giggle out of it. We had recently been talking about racial differences and wondering when kids would notice. I said I figured that James would notice soon at around 3 or 4 when he was exposed to so many more kids. Dante was just 2 so we knew he probably wouldn't be the first to say anything.

    Answer by VintageWife at 10:38 PM on Apr. 7, 2010

  • you can't explain something to her that's impossible. she is not blind and there is no reason for her not to make an observation. there are black people, white people, brown people and yellow people. who cares.


    Answer by Anonymous at 3:24 PM on Apr. 7, 2010

  • ^agreed^ how the heck do you expect her to not see color difference in people. that's just stupid. unless she is not wanting ti play with a child because of the color of their skin then who cares?


    Answer by KristaRene at 3:26 PM on Apr. 7, 2010

  • There is a color difference between people. Some are white, some are brown, some are black...just like some have blue eyes, some have brown, some have blonde hair, some have red, etc. To a 3 year old, describing skin color is no different than describing any other feature she might see. If she used a derogatory word or slang to describe someone of a different skin color that would be one thing, but she's just describing the color. I'd let it go.

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:28 PM on Apr. 7, 2010

  • my 5 yr old did that the other day at the park. He said "why are there so many black people here"...i never bring up color so i don't know where he wouldve heard it. I just said i dont know, i guess they want to play too...and i also told him its okay to point out to me while we were in the car but he better not ever say things like that out loud around other people.

    Answer by shay1130 at 3:34 PM on Apr. 7, 2010

  • What your 3 yr old did, is normal. Kids see color but it doesn't mean anything to them other than color. They are being honest. I wouldn't make a big deal out of it. Find out the little girls name and keep using her name so your daughter gets used to her name. Now, if she used it in a way to be mean, then that is a different story.

    Answer by tyfry7496 at 4:24 PM on Apr. 7, 2010

  • To her it's what the girl is - a little black girl. It's s descriptor, and not meant the way YOU are taking it. It isn't offensive. It's what she sees when she looks at that girl.

    I don't get why a descriptor is offensive to you. She isn't being mean or derogatory. And after all, the child is black right? How else would you want her to describe her if she doesn't know her name?

    Answer by Anonymous at 4:46 PM on Apr. 7, 2010

  • My kids have said things like that, they're just describing what someone looks like. Just like saying, "The boy who has red hair" or "The little girl with glasses." It would be different if they were saying it in a negative mean way, but since we don't talk that way in our house, they don't know that skin color could be perceived as negative or mean. I remember my boys used to describe kids who are black as brown, "The brown boy" or " the brown girl" because that's what the color looked like to them.

    Answer by Bethsunshine at 5:00 PM on Apr. 7, 2010

  • We label the ball as red, the pants as blue, and so kids dont' see a difference as a person is white or something. I'd let it go, because it's just more confusing. The only thing I tell mine is "when we talk about people, we use their names. That is polite."

    Answer by whiteroses82 at 7:16 PM on Apr. 7, 2010

  • I agree with the pther psoters, she is seeing the differnec between her skin and the ohter girls. Teaching her not to treat people differently because of skin color would be a better lesson then teaching her not to see color. Ny son is black and if she called him a little black boy, we would not take offense at all.

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:49 PM on Apr. 7, 2010