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Shades of Black“I am Black
I am Unique
I am the creamy white frost
in vanilla ice cream
and the milky smooth brown in a chocolate bar…”

From the book Shades of Black - A celebration of our children by Sandra L. Pinkney.

The first days of sunshine have come to Portland and with that the kids went to play outside to enjoy the big backyard.
After just a couple of hours under the sun, Feven and Feromsa got a beautiful dark skin tone. Feven’s skin is turning from a cinnamon to a raw umber color and Feromsa skin is looking more and more like burnt umber (I’m a painter, I can’t help it!) and his eyes are looking even more beautiful than they were before.
And this with just the first rays of sun! We have so little of it during half of the year that we all run outside as soon as we see the weather is changing.
Here in Oregon we are advised to take a Vitamin D supplement all year round because of the lack of sunshine and usually we don’t have to worry about getting sunburns most of the time. I learned many things about black skin these days that I plan to share in another post, but this one is to write about the different shades of African people.
All this comes about because someone who saw a picture of Feven a while ago, asked me if she was “biracial” (the actual term was “mulatta” which I didn’t like at all). Obviously it was someone who had no idea of the different kinds of African people and never saw an Ethiopian before, someone who thought a black person should be “black”, right? I know sometimes it is useless to try to educate others about certain things, specially if they are not interested in learning and they just prefer to embrace the stereotypes.
But is just an excuse to talk about the subject.
Considering than only in Ethiopia there are more than 80 tribes, each unique, you can guess from that the huge amount of variation within the whole race. Even genetically it has been established that a black person has more in common with a white person than with another black person.
And then to all the variety within the African continent you should add black people living outside Africa who through many ways crossed the race boundaries and changed the physical characteristics of the new generations.
I’ve seen many black children with really dark skin and deep blue eyes, or with red hair. Anyway, just by looking at my children anyone can see the big difference between the two, and neither of them is “biracial”.
And yes, black skin also changes shades when exposed to sun rays, so finally my two kids are leaving behind that pale Oregon look to a more African “sun blessed” skin tone… at least for some months.
If you want to see beautiful pictures of black children of all skin shades, I recommend the book Shades of Black - A celebration of our children .

"Chocolate" Feromsa & "Cinnamon" Feven