When I was four and just becoming aware of people outside my family, I began noticing our wide variety of shapes, sizes and colors.
One day I became curious about skin and asked mom why a woman nearby had black skin. Horrified, mom berated me for “hurting the feelings” of the woman, apologized and led me away.
Truthfully, I was genuinely interested in the color spectrum, possibly sensing I was a blend of several races, but I’d awkwardly stumbled into America’s defining cultural issue. I’ve always felt shame about that moment and have tried to avoid noticing skin color since.