Sunday, March 9, 2008

Labels

I hate racism.

And I'm not going to get into it here on the ol' blog because this is supposed to be my happy place.

Anyway. Let's just say it's not welcome at our house. And it certainly isn't taught in our house.

Any of you Internets out there with children will understand this story. Because no matter what is taught in your homes, the kids? Well, they pick things up, don't they?

So I was sitting at the computer last night, writing recipes and Noodle was playing with her dollies, which I was pretty much tuning out because that crazy Noodle does a lot of talking and role-playing when she plays. And we Parents? We get pretty good at the tuning out of the children, am I right ladies?
So since I was tuning most of her "conversation" out, I only heard the tail end of her "labeling" session.

This is what I heard, but I missed the first label for Sarah:

"Nicky? You're the clumsiest"
Nicky has a cast on and is in a wheel chair, so I get it. Nicky is looking a little clumsy these days.

"Baby? You're just the cutest!"
Baby is - well, she's the baby of the bunch. So, while it's arguable? She could conceivably be the cutest.

"Josephina? You're the Mexicanist"

"And I'm just Normal!"

Apparently, we've got some work to do.




ps. I have a photo, but blogger is acting up. I'll try to add it later.

(***edited to add: Okay, right this very minute she's making play-doh tamales. So I'm starting to feel a little better. Just a little, though.)

6 comments:

Cutzi said...

Hey! I thought I was the Mexicanist???

If it eases your mind at all, I have never thought of Mexican as a derogatory term. In fact, that's what I call myself - even though I'm really not. Mexicans are from Mexico. Russians are from Russia. I guess technically I'm latina? or chicana? I don't know.. but I want to be Mexican.

She was probably just calling her doll that because it's the most beautiful one. (hee hee) ;-)

Minnesota Matron said...

Even though I've been banned, I'm back :-). Thank you for your kind comments on my writing.

Must chime in here -- I totally get this. When Scarlett was about 6 she actually said something to this effect to me: the white girls are always the prettiest ones.

I nearly fell over in horror.

She's 9 now and this has been thoroughly tossed on its side through her acting career -- she's been around so many people, so much diversity, that she now is able to see people for who they are. She is absolutely in love with a handful of African-American teens with whom she's been in shows, and they dote and coddle her.

But when I think back to her four and five year old self, and the constructions of beauty/femininity to which she was exposed -- I could've done some more legwork to broaden those horizons.

Martha said...

Cutz - You ARE the Mexicanist!!

Let me clarify - I don't think being a different nationality is racist...but we've been really careful to never described someone by their skin color or nationality...only by something the person is wearing or something like that. We totally leave skin color or nationality differences out of it. Because we never describe someone as white or caucasian or Anglo - You know? Does that make any sense?

MM - yes! And Noodle has never been to any daycare or school that hasn't been completely diverse in every way. I mean, we live in the city, for gawd's sake! And our neighborhood is soooooo diverse!

Sister Honey Bunch said...

So if in your home you never label according to skin color/nationality and she came up with it out of the blue, does that mean "labeling" comes to us naturally?

Very interesting. And she was describing each of her dollies, so what would be another option of the cutest and clumsiest were already taken.

As far as the "normal" comment, I bet she was saying that in terms of she is like her mom and dad and her dollies are not.

I would love to have dollies in my house, by the way. We've got some power ranger action going on today.

Cutzi said...

I was thinking about that too. Like, what is her "normal"? The whole thing is very interesting to me.

I grew up in a town with pretty much all caucasian people - I was the closest thing to being a person 'of color' that I came across. I think we had two black kids in our school.

I've always wondered if this experience made me more racist or less racist. I sincerely always thought it made me less racist until I visited places that were more diverse. I realized that what is sometimes harder for me is not the color of peoples' skin but rather, our differences in culture. Kind of like, I'm fine - as long as they're dressed like me. Isn't that silly? - we're taught so many stereotypes via tv etc. that it's hard to get past those things sometimes.... but then again, I sometimes have a hard time relating to teenagers. Was I really one of them once?

Anyway, really interesting topic Martha....

Anonymous said...

So I guess I can't give the Noodle that "Spick" joke book for her birthday?

JNB