“Beige and Brown”

This is Samuel

This is Aram

Samuel and Aram are brothers

They love each other

They act the same

They play the same

They find the same things funny

They are being raised in the same environment

They have the same family, who love them both dearly

But one of the boys will get treated differently by society

Judgements will be passed

People may ignore him

People may harass him

People may be afraid of him

People may want to hurt him

All because he has a little more melanin in his skin than his brother.

Something so silly as a biological function, to protect our skin from the sun, has been the focus of pure evil in our cultural history.

Biologically speaking, race is non-existent. Culturally, race is very real…

Racism is very real.

My dilemma is explaining this to my children. It is so important to address it, even at this young age.

Clearly, there should be age-appropriate language and examples used, but truth is truth no matter how sugar coated it is, and the truth is ugly.

What is vital for our children’s future is that they feel our justice system is color blind (but is it?); it will be served regardless of what skin color they have (will it?).

Time to call out injustice when we see it.

We need to press for change now.

The comfort of being raised up and protected in a community is vitally important, and will affect the entire country (whatever your epidermal hue) in a positive way.



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44 comments

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  1. Jessica 23 March, 2012, 06:33

    A subject too close to my heart. My approach with society is to engage discussion any chance I get. Bring up race. Make it known, provide examples, and keep people aware that the things they say are not without judgmental undertones. Some things are so accepted in everyday speech that they aren’t aware it’s laced with incorrect bias or historical untruths. Education is power, and that’s my only defense in this day and age.

    Reply this comment
    • Jamie Lynne Author 23 March, 2012, 07:59

      Thank you Jessica! Best advice you could give. Thought provoking, articulate, and kind.

      Reply this comment
  2. Laura (Spank) 23 March, 2012, 08:14

    This made me cry. For real. I am shaken to my core over this story. Thanks for sharing so eloquently your perspective, and mine.

    xoxo

    Reply this comment
    • Jamie Lynne Author 23 March, 2012, 18:35

      Love you Laura! (Spank!)
      Our children are too precious to sit idly by when something so wicked happens.
      You and I are both obviously aware that Trayvon could easily be our child. I hope other people realize that, too!

      Reply this comment
  3. Deborah Stambler 23 March, 2012, 08:34

    My girls are 13 & 16 and they are talking about this at school and with family and friends. While I hate that they’re exploring such a dark and painful subject, they are fiery in their opinions and outrage. And I love seeing that.

    My heart goes out to Trayvon’s family.

    Reply this comment
    • Jamie Lynne Author 23 March, 2012, 18:36

      Yes, I get it. Even at Aram and Samuel’s young ages I can see them getting fired up when they see someone wronged. That is when I feel the most successful as a parent.

      Reply this comment
  4. Yolanda 23 March, 2012, 09:46

    There is way too much hate going on in the world right now. :( Your boys are adorable!

    Reply this comment
  5. Michelle @Special Mom Space 23 March, 2012, 10:46

    It’s an overall sad story. While this country has come far in the fight against racism, it is still alive and well and will never die. Why? As long as there’s a devil and sin running rampant through the land, it will exist……until Jesus returns.

    Reply this comment
    • Jamie Lynne Author 23 March, 2012, 18:38

      Yes, there is always going to be evil in this world! We are ready for Jesus when he comes.
      I do think that it is important to push for change regardless of the sad truth that evil will always exist…because it does still make a difference, and we are fighting for what is right, good, and God’s will- love.

      Reply this comment
  6. Julie (Ginger) 23 March, 2012, 11:17

    I loved the parallels and pictures of your two boys. I am so sad for the day Samuel has to learn about racism. I told Marlie and the other kids about it much earlier than planned due to my in-law’s unfair treatment of her and her repeatedly asking, “Mama, but why do they treat me differently?” It was the hardest thing I ever had to explain to the kids, and Marlie sat on my lap with tears silently falling. It made me so angry. The unfairness of it all, as you said… all due to the pigment in her skin.

    God I hope they arrest and prosecute that man who killed Treyvon Martin!

    Reply this comment
    • Jamie Lynne Author 23 March, 2012, 18:39

      I can’t believe little Marlie had to deal with that from her own family at 5 years old. So sad! It isn’t right….You handled it beautifully, though- I remember.

      April 10 we need to discuss what happened in the courtroom!

      Reply this comment
  7. Yvonne Condes 23 March, 2012, 14:07

    Your boys are so beautiful. It’s hard for me as a parent to talk about the terrible things going on in this world to my sons. But they are such important conversations to have.

    Reply this comment
    • Jamie Lynne Author 23 March, 2012, 18:40

      Thank you. Yes, exactly…I hate the sad reality of life. There are some great things, and the best news for them is to understand there is still hope and we can change the world. It is not set in stone.

      Reply this comment
  8. Desiree Eaglin 23 March, 2012, 14:46

    Fantastic post Jamie. Just fantastic.

    Reply this comment
  9. Tara @ secretsofamomaholic.com 23 March, 2012, 19:58

    So terrible. Some people are disgusting and disgraceful…sad but true. I agree with you that it’s important for our children to know this.

    Reply this comment
  10. WhitMc 23 March, 2012, 21:54

    Your words and pictures are chilling. Because they are true.

    Reply this comment
  11. Eva Smith 23 March, 2012, 22:23

    Love the way your shared the story of your children to portray the problems we face in America today. I hope our children will have a brighter future than we did or our parents did. Hoping for a miracle on April 10.

    Reply this comment
    • Jamie Lynne Author 26 March, 2012, 20:55

      Eva, I know…We have a long way to go, but I think we are in a much better place than when our parents were children. I am praying for the continued understanding and acceptance. I think our children are going to make huge strides in putting an end to intolerance of any group. I think they will be the true pioneers of human and civil rights, really putting an end to any social acceptance of it.

      Reply this comment
  12. Shelby Barone 24 March, 2012, 01:00

    Such a powerful way to share an important message. My hope is that the world will change to find love in everyone’s heart.

    Reply this comment
  13. MomAngeles 24 March, 2012, 09:16

    Thank you for this post. For this very clear picture of how racism affects all of us. For this glimpse at a family who defines how we should all love and appreciate each other irregardless of physical differences. I hope this family portrait affects change. It has to change. People have to stop assuming the worst in others because they are different, look different, have a different upbringing, pray differently. Because to these two boys they are the same. There is no difference. Great post!

    Reply this comment
  14. Caryn B 24 March, 2012, 18:20

    What happened to Trayvon is unspeakable……thank you Jamie for this incredible post….I loved it…..thank you for speaking up…..

    Reply this comment
  15. vanessa 25 March, 2012, 09:57

    This is such a great post with a great approach to discussing something so horrible. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply this comment
  16. Elle @SeeMomWorkBlog 25 March, 2012, 13:35

    Jamie, excellent post!! Your photos of your sons are beautiful and heartwarming. But in contrast with your words and the murder of an innocent boy, I’m saddened about the human condition.

    I remember visiting a friend in Alabama when I was in high school and racism was very real. A senior in her school asked me if I liked black guys and I said “yeah; what’s not to like?” They made it clear how they felt about that.

    May God bless and your protect your sons from hate and ignorance.

    Reply this comment
    • Jamie Lynne Author 26 March, 2012, 20:59

      Thank you so much Elle for such kind and positive words about my family.
      I think areas in the South are moving at a snails pace of acceptance of all human beings. I’m ready to go stir things up over there!

      Reply this comment
  17. Zoe 25 March, 2012, 14:26

    Love this post. Hate that you had to write it at all.

    Reply this comment
  18. Sharla 26 March, 2012, 07:55

    I hate that I have to have discussions with my boys about this. I hate that this happened, but it reminded me of the ugly reality and forced me not to be able to avoid “the talk” anymore. I hate that this happened, but I’m glad that it has opened the discussion of racism in our communities. It is hard to deny that it still exists when presented with the clear evidence. I’m glad that people are talking, that Trayvon is not forgotten, that his death will hopefully not be in vain.

    Love your post.

    Reply this comment
    • Jamie Lynne Author 26 March, 2012, 21:05

      Thank you so much Sharla! I keep thinking of all these “talks” I need to have with my kids. Both of them need to hear about stranger danger, telling us if any adult tries to touch them inappropriately, and now about racist people that may want to hurt our whole family. Terrifying to think of all these evil people trying to break into my innocent babies’ lives.

      Reply this comment
  19. Heather 28 March, 2012, 08:42

    This is such a tragedy.
    I feel for the parents. I do hope they find justice. Although, somehow I bet it will give them little peace.
    My children are both very young for this type of conversation (3 and 1), but we try to foster an environment of love and an understanding that everyone’s different and that’s what makes us cool! It’s a first step.

    Reply this comment
  20. Jenny 28 March, 2012, 13:12

    As time goes by I am more and more thankful that I am raising my black child in Europe and not the US. There are certainly race issues in Europe, but not to the extent I hear about in the US. It is just unacceptable and I will absolutely avoid at all costs having to move back to my own country with my daughter. For shame!

    Reply this comment
  21. Raven 15 May, 2012, 19:56

    You rock! What a great message and awesome delivery. :D

    Reply this comment
  22. Amy 28 April, 2013, 21:17

    Loved this blog post. What beautiful children you have. You’re an amazing parent. I am adopted and am a different race than my family. I had to face racist people growing up but because of my loving and supportive family I was able to brush those people off and know I was loved by those that mattered not because of how I looked but who I am. Keep up the amazing work and know even in the ugliest moments, because of how you raised your sons, it will only make them stronger!

    Reply this comment
  23. Lauren (Don't Lick the Trash Can) 20 August, 2013, 18:11

    This was a great post and brought tears to my eyes. My son is from Ethiopia and this is a scary reality. Something I have been thinking about (and writing about) far more lately. Thanks for this.

    Reply this comment

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