This quote comes at the very end of chapter 13. Chapter 13 is an absolutely wonderful chapter because it truly shows how much the relationship between Phillip and Timothy has grown. The two characters have been on the island for 48 days, and Phillip is becoming quite independent. He takes care of the fishing, and he finally feels like he is pulling some of his own weight. This chapter also sees Phillip climbing the tree and successfully pulling down some coconuts. Phillip is also pleased to be able to teach Timothy some things during this chapter as well. As the chapter closes out, Phillip thinks back to his early impressions of Timothy. No longer does Phillip see Timothy as an old, ugly black man. Instead Timothy only seems "kind and strong." Gone is any thinking of Timothy's skin color. It simply doesn't make a difference, and Phillip's question is meant to tell Timothy this in a joking format. The two of them laugh to each other after the question. Phillip's question is essentially him admitting to Timothy that Phillip no longer thinks of Timothy in terms of skin color. Timothy is a friend, and skin color doesn't matter.