Racism still exists...and we're not talking about watching films about Ruby Brides or reading a book about slavery.
I'm talking about current literature and films.
For example, the other day I took the kids to the library and grabbed a few, well, ok, a ton, of children's books. I was so excited to pick up Ponyella, a book I'd seen in a Scholastic booklet.
My girls and I sat on the floor and spent some quiet time flipping through the books we'd checked out. I excitedly pulled out Ponyella to find pages such as these. Ponyella being the dirty, white horse ("dirty" because of the work her stepsisters make her do); the stepsisters are the dark horses: black and brown.
According to the book's description, which I read later (bold/larger font is mine):
In this clever retelling of Cinderella, Ponyella longs to show Princess Penelope her fabulous leaps and jumps at the Tippington 25th Annual Grand Royal Pony Championship. But Plumpkin and Bun Bun, the mean ponies she shares a farm with, say that Ponyella's farm chores make her too dirty to be a champion.
With a little help from Ponyella's fairy godmare, her coat becomes marshmallow white once again, and her mane silky and beautiful. It's love at first sight for Princess Penelope and Ponyella — but what will happen when the magic runs out at noon?
Ahem? Excuse me? Are you kidding me??
Sadly, this is all too common.
Look at the BIG stink The Princess and The Frog made. A Black princess, Disney promises! Horray!!! Yay!!! Then she spends most of the movie as frog or as the cool Black friend of Charlotte (who is naturally rich and beautiful). (Not to mention, the movie is quite scary and demonic, that I don't let my kids watch it!)
Oh, and what about Sophia the First? She's all the range on Disney Jr. And she was supposed to be Latina. But when the show aired, Sophia was had milky-white skin and reddish hair. Oops, says Disney.
Dolls are another example. Even when companies attempt to represent brown-girls or create a doll for brown-girls, there are more fails than successes. So-called Black dolls often have long, silky, straight hair, blue or green eyes....and these dolls appear to be racially ambiguous. There will be five white dolls in a collection and one brown-skinned doll who is supposed to be all-other ethnicities. Or something like that.
My point is, it sucks. It sucks for not just my children or your children, but the White kids, too. Where is the representations of the real world? A world where not all darker-skinned beings are the "bad" guys or girls? A world where toys truly represent what people of that race look like? Their hair texture and eye color are accurate? Where are the beautiful princesses who are mocha-skinned? Why is there not an afro poking out of Rapunzel's tower?
And before you think I'm crazy/oversensitive/overdramatic...watch this video.
Racism is learned. Fear is learned. Stereotypes are taught...and learned.
So parents, be very careful, very discerning, when it comes to what your child reads and watches. It does matter. A lot.