August 16, 2005

Rainbow People

My 8 year old got in the car yesterday after school and said, “Mom, I have to read to you. I’ll just read out loud on our way home.”

So he did. Aloud he read a story about an immigrant grandfather, when suddenly he said, “Mom, mom, mom, listen to this. This is really weird. “… and he shook the hands of white people, black people, yellow people, and red people.” Yellow and Red people? What are those? I’ve never seen a Yellow or Red person.”

Being 8, he is literal. He is picturing Crayola Crayon Red and Crayola Crayon Yellow.

I was kind of startled. I’ve never referred to someone as Yellow or Red, and although I have heard people’s skin color described that way, it’s never come up before at the house. So I explained that yellow refers to Asians and red refers to Native Americans. I don’t know why, but that whole thing in his reading book didn’t sit right. It just didn’t.

And of course, 2 seconds later, I’m kicking myself, because if I’d been thinking clearly I would have said, “oh! That means he shook hands with people with liver disease and really bad sun burns.” But I didn’t. Probably better that I didn’t.

Well, 3 hours later, I was taking my eldest and youngest swimming while my husband ran errands with my 2nd son. For some reason, getting back into the van brought back the entire yellow/red skin conversation and I suddenly started singing to my kids:

Jesus loves the little children
All the Children of the World
Yellow, Black, and White
They are precious in his sight
Jesus loves the little children of the world.

Now, you need to know, I may be introverted in public, but it is NOT uncommon for me to make a complete fool of myself or break out in song in front of my children. Suffer they must, as I can’t sing worth crap.

So I sing this song and my eldest says, “Mom! There are NO yellow people. Only if they’re really really sick!”

Heh. Great minds and all that. I said, “Yeah, liver disease will do that to you. They call it jaundice.”

The whole thing was just so bizarre. One of my best friends is from Vietnam. My kids have never thought her skin was ‘yellow’ and neither have I. Odd, very odd. Now I know next time we see her they’ll be telling her that some people think she is ‘yellow’. She’s tight with my kids, so this could be interesting…

Posted by Boudicca at August 16, 2005 10:16 PM | TrackBack

I see many more posts coming from this one.

"Remember when I posted about the Red and Yellow people? Well Bones....."


Posted by: Sissy at August 16, 2005 10:28 PM

isnt the third line RED and Yellow Black and White ?

i learned it at school; one of the mom's taught it to us in sign language, also.

Posted by: amelie at August 16, 2005 10:51 PM

Yup! I stand corrected! It's been 30 years since I sang it. I was surprised I remembered it and kind of even more mystified that it popped into my head after all these years.

Posted by: Bou at August 16, 2005 10:53 PM

What about the green people? No love for the Martians? You earthist, you.

Posted by: Ogre at August 17, 2005 07:49 AM

I never thought of myself as yellow - more bronze goddess, but not yellow ;)

Posted by: Oddybobo at August 17, 2005 08:00 AM

What about fusia? Who are the fusia people?

Posted by: contagion at August 17, 2005 08:16 AM

I guess I could fall in the red catagory. I do tend to step on my dick a lot and then blush when I realize it. Oh, and the fusia people? That is what some people called the fukawwes-always 'fused and asking where "de fukawwe"

Posted by: GUYK at August 17, 2005 08:32 AM

Ok, you're on my sh*t list now! :-)

I woke up to this song in my head and it WON'T.GO.AWAY.

Posted by: Sissy at August 17, 2005 09:32 AM

Bou aren't you going to mention the white people?

Posted by: mom at August 17, 2005 10:29 AM

You know what it is I'm referring...
you're just too embarrased to show the apple doesn't fall far from the tree (o:

Posted by: mom at August 17, 2005 10:41 AM

What about the Irish? A summer in Spain is only just enough to take the blue off :-D

Posted by: Sally at August 17, 2005 03:23 PM

What about the pigment challenged? No albino white? Or transparent people?

Posted by: Napster at August 17, 2005 06:28 PM

Oddybobo- That is what my friend will say! We used to lay out and tan together. She gets this beautiful bronze color.

I have another post coming shortly on white people. Must appease my Mom... ;-)

Posted by: Bou at August 17, 2005 10:11 PM

When I lived in Hawaii and one of the locals were "acting white", they would call them bananas. Yellow on the outside, white on the inside. Never understood that whole thing...

Posted by: Amy at August 20, 2005 04:18 PM