The Brown Boy Did It!

Posted in Kid Stories by Ashley Franklin on October 8, 2009
Tags: ,

Oh the things I witness working at a daycare. I never know what I’m going to see or hear. I want to talk about a lesson I learned about colors. Things aren’t always black and white, and with kids, things are no different.

While walking around the playground, trying to make sure the kids didn’t kill themselves on the equipment, I heard screams coming from the swing set. Sure I was going to see blood, i ran over to see what was wrong. Fortunately, there was no blood. What’s greater than that is the fact that i didn’t have to run far. The screaming child met me half way. I do detest running, but that’s a different story.

“The brown boy did it!” He wasn’t holding any of his body parts, no parts were hanging off, and there wasn’t blood gushing from mysterious places. Why on Earth was this child screaming and crying hysterically?

“Did what, and what brown boy?” I asked totally confused. I looked where he was pointing and saw two children happily playing on the swings. One was of a mocha complexion, the other caramel. I didn’t know which was more important, figuring out what happened or identifying the culprit. At this point the child had stopped crying and was just angrily pouting and pointing.

My curiosity got the best of me. I wanted to hear more about his brown boy logic ( I hate quotation marks, they look so messy to me, so I’m going to opt for different colors from here on out.):

-Well which brown boy did it?

-That one!

-Which one? The one on the right or the left? (That was sure to confuse him. Whose left/right? Ours or theirs?)

-Ummm….that one?

-Which one? Which kind of brown?

-Ummm…the lighter brown one. The lighter brown one took my swing. I was on it first.

-How’d he take it if you were on it first?

-Cuz I got off.

-Sweetie, someone else can get on if you get off. Why don’t you go play something else until another swing is free?


He happily ran off.

The brown boy comment made me smile. I honestly hadn’t been sure how he was going to identify the child he felt had wronged him. He said it with no maliciousness. He said it as a matter of fact. It’s not the first time I’ve heard one of the kids refer to someone as peach or brown when tattling. It was, however, the first time I’d heard one of them try to differentiate between different brown people.

It made me think of how I identify people. I’ll be honest. I’ll usually start off with the white/black girl/guy. I’ll then go to hair color, clothes, and then personality. Why don’t I use peach or brown? It sounds a great deal nicer. Black and white doesn’t really do much for a description either. Maybe this is an early indication that children don’t see race. Maybe they just see different shades of people in general. Would that make them colorblind or color indifferent?


2 Responses to 'The Brown Boy Did It!'

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  1. Tricia Ferdinand said,

    Hmm. This sounds like a psychological nature vs. nurture debate I don’t care to get into at the moment for various reasons (see comment on previous entry), but it’s a bit odd to realize how arbitrary naming things and people can sometimes be. LOL..I love the question “Which brown boy?” I wonder how he felt explaining about the brown boy to a brown woman?

  2. alexis brown said,

    aww nice story i am writing on this blog and going to recommend it to everybody even strangers(lol). At my preschool they usually refer to the colored children as the “darker ones” tho.

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