Luke, Steph, and Grampa have just finished watching the inauguration.
Luke: I wish I had brown skin.
Steph: Do you? You know, your skin is a very nice colour the way it is.
Luke [smiling bashfully]: Yeah. But I still wish I had brown skin.
That exchange made me feel happy -- I know it's not that unusual for a little kid to wish he was a different colour or that his hair was red and curly or even, say, that he had wings. Although I can remember freaking out a little bit back when I was teaching ESL to immigrant kids in Vancouver and one little Chinese girl -- she must have been in grade five or six -- drew herself as a blue-eyed blonde as part of an autobiography project. At the time I worried she felt she looked "wrong" somehow or that she was rejecting her ethnicity. But when Luke made this passing comment on Tuesday it felt like it meant something, something good. And all I could do was marvel at how it feels like the world really is different now, especially for kids Luke's age. I also realized that, aside from the hosts and characters on children's television shows, the only two famous people Luke recognizes on sight are Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey. Let's hope it's true -- that the world truly is becoming a brand-new place in which your skin colour means nothing more than the pretty shade you happen to come in.