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When my daughter, Luna, was seven years old, she proudly came home from first grade and announced that a girl in her class had been adopted. Luna’s friend was indeed adopted, and I’d known that for years- because when her friend arrived at school, she looked very different from her mother. Jessica had beautiful dark skin, and her mother’s skin was as white as snow. Jessica was from Africa, and her mother had indeed adopted her.

Luna was shocked when I said that I already knew. “But how do you know?” she asked me. I explained to Luna how if you have brown hair and brown eyes, there is a pretty good chance that your children will, too. I explained that Jessica and her mother looked so different from one another, that I figured Jessica was adopted. I said, “Well, Jessica is black, or African American, and her mom is white.”

“What is black?” Luna asked.

And then it hit me. Until that moment, Luna had never seen skin color. She had never regarded difference. She was so focused on playing, on day-to-day life, that she had never seen what so many people get so hung up on as adults. I felt horrible for naming the difference, for labeling it, when it was clearly so unnecessary in life.

We are absolutely more similar than we are different. As humans, we want the same things in life: love, shelter, comfort. Why, if we are so similar, do we tend to focus on the things that separate us, rather than bring us together?

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