I hear so many people say "I don't see color" in reference to skin tone, and I hate it! I see lots of color; I see pale people, freckled people, dark skinned people, brown people, and plenty of weirdly orange people who spray tanned a bit too long. The important part is that I see people and I appreciate their differences.
In case you couldn't tell from the pictures I've posted, I'm about as white as it gets. My son is not. My son is beautifully brown and I think he looks amazing. I've told him since birth that I love his color. He goes between a creamy dulce de leche and a deeper, rich brown depending on how much sun he gets and each shade is gorgeous.
I've always encouraged him to look at what color people are and we talk about which of his friends look like him, and which are different. As he got ready to start at a public school, I had a harder talk with him.
Me: "Some people don't like to be friends with people with different colored skin than they have. What kind of a choice is that?"
Him: "A bad choice!"
Me: "What do we do when people make bad choices?"
Him: "We walk away."
It was a simple talk, in words he understands, and I hated having it. I know we have many talks in our future, and they will get harder to have. I have the benefit of white privilege but the failing of white fragility. I don't want to have to talk about skin color and discrimination, but not having those talks means I'm not preparing my son for the world I will have to send him out into.
We are living in a time where we have so many great people to look up to and they come in all colors. We also live in a society where there is so much hate and inequality centered around differences that are literally only skin deep. I want to be able to send my son out into a world where no one will see is beautiful skin as anything but a color that identifies, but doesn't define him. Right now that isn't the case, so I'll set my white fragility aside and talk about things that make me uncomfortable.