About halfway through my presentation called; “I can see race (in the classroom)” tomorrow I am going to hold up this Black Barbie, still in her box. I plan to ask the 50-75 teachers in the audience to tell me what message they think it would convey to their Black (and all) students if they had grown up playing with her along with the more common blonde and white version. (No, we are not talking about gender, or the messed up proportions that the Barbie exhibits….this time.) I am going to introduce this doll by telling them what one of my Black students said when I told her I bought it for my kids. She looked so confused. I explained that I wanted to get her because she was so beautiful. What message do you think they took in when I chose this one over the other versions on the shelf?
She paused. “I guess they know now that they aren’t so weird.”
“Weird?” I said. ‘What do you mean?”
“Well, when you see one that looks like you, you don’t feel so weird.”
Do you know how many more of these dolls I want to buy now?
Talk about a living example for why colorblindness (the idea that we don’t see color–that everyone is the same) renders our children invisible. I am really looking forward to the work I am taking on tomorrow. I have so much to learn about this work, and am so hopeful about the conversations that will happen tomorrow. So very hopeful.
What risks have you taken recently in the anti-racist ally department? Small or large? How are you keeping the conversations going? What plans do you have to do so? Inspire us!