A masterclass in liberal parenting

“Dids,” began Millie this morning, as we tramped through the sodden boggy woods on the way to school, “why is it that most people marry someone who looks the same?  Like, why do dark-coloured people marry dark-coloured people?”

“Well,” I replied, picking my way carefully across the slippery, squelching ground, “people can marry whoever they want.”

Let’s just be clear on that, I thought to myself.

“But why do they always marry someone who’s the same?”

“They don’t, love.  My friend Luthfa, who has dark skin, married a man called Richard, who has light skin.  Uncle Shash has dark skin and he married Auntie Megan.  My friend Balraj has dark skin, too, and he married Lois, who has light skin.”

“Hmm, yeah, I suppose.”

“Probably it looks that way where we live because most people have light skin and they have married other people from here.  Bexley’s not a particularly exciting, tolerant or diverse place, ‘Lays.”

I didn’t say that second sentence, but I thought it.

“If you look around then most people marry whoever they like, not just people who look the same.”

“Hmm.  OK.”

I love these little conversations.  When I was installing the new hard drive at the weekend, Millie happened by and started asking about the insides of the computer – what does this do, what does that do, why is that light red, etc. – and as always I really enjoyed explaining it to her; we had a little geeky father/daughter moment.  With a bit of luck, she’ll remember this and get more interested in computers – or, at least, not intimidated by them. 🙂

But apparently, I got off lightly with Millie – the Lovely Melanie tells me that Amber has been asking lots of questions about babies, including where they come from.



  1. When I was born and my sister was 6 we moved to Newcastle (my parents got jobs there for 2 years). When my sister went to school, it was the first time she was seeing people who were not brown. One the walk home from school, she asked my mum “If people are different colours then what colour is god?” So not wanting to blow her tiny 6 yr old mind with existential deliberations like, “is there even a god?” etc I think her reply was something on the lines of “no colour, no form, in your soul” type thing….Gosh, it’s hard being a parent and not having all the answers.

    • This might sound stupid, but the idea of coming to the UK and seeing white people for the first time surprised me when I read your reply – let alone your Mum’s excellent reply to your sister’s excellent question!

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