Family Magazine

An Open Letter To Those Who Think My Children Are Too White

By Monicasmommusings @mom2natkatcj

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Dear People who told my 14 year old that her feet and legs are too white,

Why did you feel the need to point that out to my daughter? Do you think it has escaped her that she is white? That she might even be a pasty white? Okay, well clearly that’s the issue. You could have left it there, but no you had to tell her that she should tan. Well, this is the last thing I want her thinking.  That she’s not good enough the way she is.

First of all, as she told you she doesn’t tan. That pasty white skin turns pink or red. Not a glimpse of tan in these pasty white children. Depending on how you look at it, they were either blessed or cursed with their mother’s skin tone.

I spent my childhood not thinking my color was good enough. And that lead to lots of “tanning” at the first sight of a warm summer day. It lead to me not applying much needed sunscreen because my friends who did not burn as easily as I do weren’t putting sunscreen on. And that lead to blistering sunburns.

We didn’t know then what we know now. What we know now is that my chances of skin Cancer because of my blistering sunburns has increased 10 fold. That is exactly what I want to avoid with my children.

But now that my daughter is self conscious about her white feet and legs, she thinks she can skip putting the sunscreen on. That this will solve the problem. And well you try telling a 14 year old what could happen down the road with the wrinkles and the increased chance of skin Cancer. What teenager do you know that thinks she’s ever going to show signs of aging or get a serious disease? Even the reminder of the sting of the potential sunburn isn’t enough to discourage this behavior.

I’ve been there. I remember thinking, nothing will happen to ME. My friends can handle it, so I can too. Never once stopping to think that I’m not my friends. That I burn easily.

So far I have kept all of my children from the pain of a blistering sunburn. I haven’t avoided the sunburn all together. Spots get missed, time flies when you’re having fun, and sometimes we’re caught unexpectedly outside longer than planned without sunscreen. But I’ll be damned if my children are going to go without sunscreen when I’m not around because someone has decided they don’t like the color of their skin.

We are white! We do not tan! We burn! And I’m sorry if it bothers you to see our pasty white complexion, but nothing is going to change. So please stop telling my children they are too white. Maybe the problem is that you’re too tan.

A concerned overly burnt mother

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