When I was very young, in 1970 or so, my mom took me with her sometimes to the office where she was a student intern. The receptionist there was always friendly and would talk to me or offer me pencils and paper for coloring when I was bored waiting for my mom.
One day, the receptionist had a little sign on her desk that said "Black is Beautiful."
I said, "I don't like black. I like blue the best!"
The woman laughed. My mom was mortified and apologized to the woman and took me aside and explained that the sign meant that black *people* are beautiful, and that it was meant to counter the general and wrong view that black people were some how "less worthy" than white people.
I was confused because I hadn't realized she was a "black person." When I thought about her at all (which was very rarely, really, since I was a kid and didn’t think often about others), I just thought she had a nice smile and a kind personality and pretty brown skin. And I was embarrassed for saying I didn't like black, because that wasn't what I meant!
I think that was the first time I realized that some people considered different skin color "bad." It made me sad because the woman was really nice.
Sometimes people claim that kids don't "notice" skin color until we teach them to. That's not really true, though. It wasn't that I didn't "notice" her skin color. I did, just as one notices hair color, height, and the shape of a nose. It's just that until then, I had never thought it could be a bad thing or even a defining characteristic of a person. I noticed, but without judging.
I hope our society will one day stop teaching kids that anyone's physical characteristics are "bad" or make a person "unworthy" or "less" than others.
And I thank my parents heartily for not teaching me such awful lessons.