The Darker Pieces

By DawnMarie Hayes

checkers board

It was the moment my great niece and I were playing checkers with a set that had “white” and “black” pieces. I “woke” as I looked at this young lady and quickly noticed our skin colors reflected in the game pieces before us. It hit close to my heart how ingrained the division of “black” and “white” was in my experience. And I quickly adjusted my words as I asked her “Do you want the lighter pieces?”

“Do you want the lighter pieces?”

Just as easily I could have asked “Do you want the darker pieces?”

A reflection of my ingrained biases?  Perhaps innate belief that “white” is better, thus “lighter” is better?

The point is I took away the juxtaposition. No longer were the pieces white or black, they were light and lighter, or dark and darker.  I avoided presenting to her the idea that black and white were separate, opposed, in competition.

And having recognized this I am able to own my inequities, learn, and do better for me, you, and my Great-Niece Carleigh.