I found this at the Salvation Army thrift store yesterday. I live in Maine.
I only paid .99c for this genuine artifact from 1993 in mint condition celebrating the existence of a multicultural product driven civilization for the one and under set. (It was made by something called Multicultural Toys Preschool.When I Googled them I found no such outfit.)
I might have to make a shelf to put it on, because it makes me that happy.
Of course that would contradict the point of actually purchasing it. You know to let children play with it, and see a black farm of sorts. I love the baseball cap. Her hair shows that the characters are not just white farmers painted brown. One of our favorite books at the moment is; Summer Sun Risin’ by W. Nilo-Lisa and illustrated by Don Tate, which is an explicit celebration of African-American farmers.
Finding this toy in a second-hand shop was like finding a bottle with a note on it on a deserted island. Inside the bottle the message tells me; you are not alone. I know that I am preaching to the choir here, but finding a toy that reflects my sons’ background is rare. Books are easy, so many books reflect what that statistics show; by the time Sam and Marcel are in their forties white will be the minority. I can leave the library with thirty books written by, and about people of color in less than ten minutes now. Finding a toy that represents a human figure is not so easy.
The toy find points to the magnitude of my own shift as evidenced in my product preferences (toys, books, music, locally owned businesses, the barber shop for starters) too. What I am always looking for are things that reflect and inspire my boys’ vision of who they are and can and will be in the world. The Olympics has offered our family so many great starting points for these conversations too. “Mom he can skate fast, and he is black. Can I skate that fast too?”
Later this morning we are planning our first visit to the local African-American AME church. We are church shopping. Toys and books are not enough. The few friends of color that we have are not enough. The five or so big bang multicultural events we can buy tickets to are not enough. Finding a black farmer from 1993 is not going to give Sam and Marcel the information they need to know what it means to be a black man, a man of color. It is not even a start. Realizing it is not even a start is more to the point. Before this morphs anymore into another post, I’ll leave you with this latest article on the subject; New Research on multiracial adoption questions current practices . Grammy and Grampy will be here soon. They are in town from New Mexico. Time to start the pancakes, and a pot of coffee.