These questions about color, identity, self-identification, etc., got no clearer when I asked my son about a series of stories I make up. For several months now I've been telling an on-going story about "Ned," well, a series of Neds. The Neds have seen and done almost everything, and it finally occurred to me to ask my son whether he saw Ned as brown or white. He said white. I asked him why, but he didn't really know.
We asked the soccer coach about this and he suggested that Ned is a white name and, besides, our son is being raised around primarily white people, so that's what he'd think of. My wife has been pretty intentional to speak celebratorily about our son's skin, knowing that his observations of color and race would necessarily arise soon, but such discussions apparently cannot transcend the learning that his eyes have been doing these last several years.
I don't really know if the color-branding of names works with 7-year-olds. My son is a big fan of the Seahawk Richard Sherman. When I asked him if he would like Richard Sherman as much if he were white, my son uninhibitedly, and without hesitation, said, "No." His explanation--Richard Sherman seems more like a black name, which is, I assume, his groping for an explanation to something that he really can't explain, but must try, for my benefit.
All this to say, I don't really know where to go from here. We want to be thoughtful and foresightful about our son's life in this regard, but...I don't really know how to do that. Are race issues ultimately insoluble? Individually? Socially? Or, am I missing something?