Teacher Has Kids Mix 'Skin Color' Paints to Help Them Love the Skin They're In

skin color
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The world in its infinite beauty is made up of a complex array of diversities. Gender, ethnicities, skin color -- all of it is full of dimensions that make each one unique. Sadly, mainstream media and consumerism doesn't necessarily cater to that diversity. Whether it is a lack of representation on TV or a lack of options at the beauty store, skin color is often the most ignored. But one teacher is determined to motivate her students to change that. 

  • Aeriale Johnson, who teaches second grade at Washington Elementary School in San Jose, California, began the school year with a pigment project.

    She Tweeted on August 23 that each student would make a jar of his or her skin color to use in art projects, in hopes of teaching all of her students that representation matters. 

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  • The idea sadly came from an unfortunate personal incident. 

    In an interview with Yahoo! Lifestyle, Johnson said the idea was born out of being told by a student in her kindergarten class last year that she didn't belong there because she is black. 

    “I knew I wanted each of my students to mix their own color, but I wanted it to carry greater significance. I wanted them to mix colors to discover the rainbow inside of their beautiful skin,” she says. This year, she wanted to jump right into the project and set a precedent from the start.

    “The tendency, when I was growing up, was for teachers to try to pretend that they did not see color,” Johnson says “My culture, my language, my religion, and even the texture of my hair are all inextricably linked to the color of my skin. To erase it is to erase me.”

  • Johnson started each child with a base of brown or peach tempera and then began mixing in white, yellow, red, dark brown, or green for the right hue.

    "They looked like they were at Ulta trying to find foundation," she joked in a Twitter thread. "The conversations were great!"

    She also added: "My favorite was the little boy who said, 'I look like chocolate cake!'” 

  • Parents and teachers alike were totally enamored with the idea. 

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  • Is there anything better than meaningful, thoughtful lessons by teachers who care?


    We are so here for this!