Jender-Son is 2 and a half. He loves to describe everything, and is very fond of adjectives. It’s never ‘Oooh– cup!’, but always ‘Oooh– big big red and blue cup’. We’ve always thought this was a thoroughly good thing. Until today, when I was getting ready to take him to the doctor. Coming out of his room he said “I want a blue doctor!”. I told him there weren’t any blue doctors. Same with red doctors. Then: “I want a yellow doctor!” Oof. I began to realise where this might lead, thinking of the Indian doctor we were about to see. What could possibly be more embarrassing, I thought to myself with horror, than a gleeful toddler yelling “Oooh– brown doctor!” I found out in the next instant, as he began shouting “I want a white doctor! I want a white doctor!”. I started trying to explain to him that people get upset when you talk about what colour they are. And thinking frantically about how to explain this further. Then I breathed a sigh of relief as he began shouting over and over “I want a metal doctor!” But it got me thinking about how tricky teaching all this to kids can be. He’ll want to know why it’s great to talk about colours of everything but people, and I’ll need to find a way of explaining it while also making it clear that colour of people in *some* sense doesn’t matter at all. But also that it does matter, because for a long time people have assigned significance to it, and that affects people’s lives in huge ways, and…. Why doesn’t he just ask me where babies come from?? That conversation would be easy!