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Showing posts from March, 2012

Trayvon

I'm sure everyone has heard about Trayvon Martin by now.  He is the young black man who was killed by a neighborhood watch captain, in Florida (where apparently neighborhood watch captains carry guns?)   Trayvon was a teenager who got hungry while watching a basketball game on TV and walked to the corner story to buy Skittles and iced tea.  George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch of the gated community where Trayvon's father lived, called the police (for what?  Because a black teenager was in a gated community?) and was told to wait for police.  He didn't, and accosted Trayvon, ending up shooting him.  He said that he did so in self-defense, so the police let him go.  Apparently it didn't matter that Trayvon was unarmed and 100 pounds lighter than the white man who attacked him.

I don't have much new to say about this except that, even never having met this young man, I am broken-hearted.  I have thought about the chance of this kind of thing happening to one of m…

Racism Hurts Everybody

In the last week, I have seen  this photo that's made it around facebook and heard about an acquaintance saying something about someone acting "like a typical black kid" - meaning, of course, that the child was being a troublemaker.

Obviously, these both make my heart hurt for a number of reasons.  The first thing I thought of was my Little Sister.  She is an ideal student and friend: thoughtful, caring, loyal, hard-working, and careful to think the best of everyone.  This is a girl who told me that we should give a homeless person her granola bar because the man didn't look like anyone treated him well, and everyone should be treated well, even if they're homeless.  She is also black.  I often think about what her reaction would be to either hateful racism, like this bumper sticker (and as snopes points out, whether it's real or not doesn't really matter, as you can buy plenty of products just like it online), or to ignorant racism like so…

Dolls

I have noticed - in an extremely unscientific survey - that most of the white children I know have only white dolls.  I mentioned this to someone recently who wondered if all children tended to have dolls that looked like them.  In my (again, very unscientific) observations, however, children of color (in the US) tend to have both dolls that look like them and white dolls.  This makes sense, as there is a wider variety of white dolls than other colors, of course (in the US).

When having these conversations, I can't help thinking of the doll experiments performed by Kenneth and Mamie Clark in the 1940s.   These were the experiments cited in the Brown v. Board of Education case that eventually led to the desegregation of schools.  The experimenters provided children with two dolls that were identical except that one was white and one was black.  They asked the children (ages 6 to 9) things like "Which doll is the  nice doll?" and "Which doll would you like to play wi…