Black, White, Tan

There once was a family of four.

The mother had dark chocolate skin.

The father was white as the driven snow. Whenever he wore shorts, his fellow soldiers would put on their shades and joke, “Sun is free, you know!”, “Did someone just break a chem light in here???”

The mother and father had two little girls who were the color of smooth caramel.

The mother and father had never really discussed color, ethnicity and race with them – it had never come up – and the girls were still so young.

The youngest daughter, Hope, absolutely loved the cartoon Strawberry Shortcake.

One day she assigned her mother and father new names. Instead of ‘Mommy’ and ‘Daddy’, she called them Orange Blossom and Angel Cake respectively.

The parents marveled at how she stuck with the names. From morning to night, day after day, she referred to them as Orange Blossom and Angel Cake. If the mother or father mistakenly said Mommy or Daddy, the little girl would correct them. (The beloved child was wrapped around her father’s finger and only she could get away with calling him Angel Cake).

One day, the mother decided to look up the Strawberry Shortcake characters online to see exactly who Orange Blossom was since her daughter insisted on calling her that.

Ah. Orange Blossom.


Then the mother looked up Angel Cake.

Ah. Angel Cake.


Then the mother began to chuckle. Her chuckle grew until she was belly-laughing and snorting and springing tears.

“The names are perfect, little one,” the mother said. “Love is yummy like angel cake and fragrant as an orange blossom. Yes, my dear, love comes in many colors.”


And they smelled flowers and ate lots of cake forevermore.


Mama looks like coffee, Daddy looks like cream
Baby is a mocha drop, American dream
All the colors in the rainbow are in her family tree
Woven altogether in a paisley tapestry

She holds real tightly to her parents’ hands
Baby loves that woman, baby loves that man
And her soul gives a smile
‘Cause she understands
That love is black, white, tan
Yeah, black, white, tan

Everyone is precious in the Father’s sight
It don’t matter red, or yellow, black or white
He just loves you ‘cause He loves you
And I tell you this is true
You are not a color and the color is not you

So let your soul give a smile
Every once in a while
‘Cause love is black, white, tan
Yeah I know God’s love is black, white, tan

My little girl will tell you,
Black, White, Tan

~Nicole C. Mullen


Click here to see Nicole C. Mullen perform the song “Black, White, Tan” with her “tan” daughter, Jasmine.

19 thoughts on “Black, White, Tan

  1. I LOVE this! As soon as you said Orange Blossom I knew why! Sarah likes Strawberry Shortcake so I am very familiar with the characters!

    I love how kids don’t see color – wish we could keep it that way…

  2. wow, Jeneil you and your husband are truly blessed!

    and don’t worry i will not refer to Brandon as Angel Cake. LOL LOL.

  3. great post and a wonderful blog! I just found your site and have enjoyed reading your writing. Great job all around.

  4. Ahhhh, you know, my kids are mixed race and I don’t think Laurie’s ever really thought about it. I’m sure she’s commented on it before, but obviously it wasn’t as moving or memorable as Hope’s comments!

  5. Angel Cake, Angel Cake! (Brandon wouldn’t come half-way across the country to lesson me on this, would he?)

    Much love to you two and your mocha drops. What a beautiful post.

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