Brown Luke and Yellow Jane: The Value of Race Labels

My son is 8. He and we are caucasian – Spanish and American. His friends are from many different cultures and races, and when referring to someone requires calling attention to something that he things will help me remember someone, he’ll refer to someone who has dark skin as “brown“. He’ll say, that is the “brown” Luke, as opposed to the other Luke (who is white).

I am fascinated by it, because I think of how many terms I’ve heard in my life – my parents used “Negro”, I grew up using “black,” which I never quite understood the popularity of the use, then I used “African American”, and now my son uses “brown”. I asked him what he was, and he says – white, no, tan, no skin color.

I don’t think he should even use a black/white race term anyway!

Thanks to Teresa, a 52 year-old technologist in New York, for this story.

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  • Glenn Robinson

    @Teresa:disqus  How do you mean “American”?

  • Glenn Robinson

    The term “caucasian” covers a wide swath of people.