As children both my sister and I played with dolls. All of the dolls in our home were Black or Brown. As a child I assumed that all children played with dolls that looked like them. It wasn’t until later in life that I found out that some Black and Brown children were never given the opportunity to play with dolls that looked like them. Our mother made an effort to make sure that the dolls that we loved, looked like the children that she loved. If you are going to pretend that a doll is your baby, it makes a lot of sense that the doll should look like it’s owner/pretend mother.
As children our parents taught us that we were invaluable. They also taught us that there would be very few people in the world that would acknowledge how valuable we were.
Our parents also taught us that we looked differently than the majority of Americans. We didn’t do things to ignore the color of our skin, we did things to support the color of our skin.
As a parent I find myself trying to make sure my children see Black and Brown faces in a positive light. One way I accomplish this is by reading books with illustrations of children with color.
In my daughter’s room the book, D is for Dress-Up: The ABCs of What We Wear, by Maria Carluccio; is on her side table. Beautiful children in many shades are found throughout the pages of this book.
The reason that I enjoy this book so much is because there are beautiful children of many shades found throughout the pages. The text is simple and the illustrations are profound. The kids in this book are doing what children do everyday, playing, getting dressed and enjoying the outdoors.
This book is for girls and boys alike. My son looks through this book and pointing to the Brown boy says, “Hey, that’s me!”.
I want my children to be exposed to diverse cultures. However it is more important to me that they first have a culture to which they can identify. The connection to culture begins with the resources, experiences and conversations that we provide in our home.