Thursday, March 10, 2005

No Faces

Today, as I am driving Caroline and her friend Sarah to gymnastics, I hear Caroline say to Sarah:

"Except for the no faces thing, what does it mean when you're Catholic?"

We have just picked Sarah up from her school, the local Catholic school. Several of Caroline's friends go there, although she goes to the public school a few blocks away.

I was puzzled by the no faces thing, but opted for silence.

"Well, I like my teacher," Sarah replied.

I couldn't contain my curiousity. "What do you mean, 'no faces'?"

"When we draw pictures of people, we're not allowed to color the skin on the faces or the arms or legs," Sarah answered.

"And when you draw animals, you have to draw them their true colors, like you can't make a blue horse, right?" Caroline added, having heard the coloring rules from her friends Lily and Selena who also go to the school.


I had to interject again, still puzzled. "Why can't you color the faces or arms or legs?"

"Because," Sarah answered, with exaggerated patience, "there are people in the world with skin that is different color from ours and we don't want to make them feel bad."

We are all silent as we ponder this concept. I'm thinking, so you leave everyone white? Then Caroline (with her beautiful asian skin) jumped in. "I'm glad I don't go to your school. I want to be able to color animals any color I want, even blue."

Sarah turned to Caroline. "Do you believe in God? Catholics believe in God." She's 7, by the way.

"I'm not sure," Caroline answered. "I know one thing..." I started to cringe in anticipation. "I believe in horses."


  1. Anonymous6:32 PM

    Oh my. It's stuff like this that makes me happy I am a recovered Catholic. So if yo aren't white you are supposed to feel bad?? Yeow....


  2. This is the stupidest thing I've heard of lately. How do people think up these weird rules for kids? It's like anti-matter except it's anti-creativity.

    I'd noticed that some illustrators who do stock art make their people green or blue, or unrealistic colors so as not to fall into stereotypes. That's what gave me the idea to make my people green, blue and yellow. I think it makes for a lot better color compositions in my quilts and it's a lot more fun.

  3. So, if you're light brown like me, red-brown like my husband, or dark brown like my best friend we'd "feel bad" because a kid colored us what we really ARE? Such a stupid and silly rule! How confusing it must be for them!