Sunday, March 21, 2010

What's Your Thoughts?

Denene of MyBrownBaby has written a blog post on Everybody Should Read Black Children's Books. The post is a good one and if you have a moment, head here to read it.

The post is close to me for a few reasons. One of them being that my twin sister and I have written a children's book about a set of Black twin girls who get themselves in plenty of trouble while doing their best to reach out and help someone. The book was written not just for Black kids to read but for kids of all nationalities. There are characters in the book who introduce other cultures as well.

After reading some of the comments posted on the forum in parenting.com, I was shocked to see how some people are against their children reading books with a Black character as the central character. Not only that, but a few of them feel strongly against their kids receiving Black dolls or books about Black children as gifts.

For those of you that are not Black or do not have a child that is Black, would you be offended if your child received a gift that featured a Black character?

How would you feel if your child was given the choice to choose a Barbie or other doll and chose one that is Black? Would you honestly steer your child into choosing one that is his/her ethnicity instead?

Honestly, I was very excited about the prospects of getting the book published but after reading some of the comments on the forum in parenting.com, I'm wondering if all of the creativity and hard work will be in vain.

Would you buy my book for your kids to read knowing that the main characters are Black?

Your honest thoughts, please.

26 comments:

Buckeroomama said...

In a word, yes. Living where we live, we come across people from diverse backgrounds, different cultures and nationalities. :)

Farila said...

I am absolutely sure that I would never look at the color of the character in a book if I am buying it for myself or my kids... Anyway my opinion will not matter much because I am of neutral color.

Anonymous said...

My enjoyment of the book is what counts, not the colour of the people in it. And my grandaughter does have a doll that is black and she isn't.
Karen G.

Veronica Lee said...

100% yes. My choice of a book or movie has nothing to do with the colour of the characters!!

Frau said...

Yes I would....and a barbie too!

Mari said...

I truly don't understand why people wouldn't buy a book or doll for that reason.
When Heather was little, her favorite doll was a black doll. She carried it all over with her and it had to sleep with her every night. I've got it packed away with a few other things that were so important to her in her childhood.

Julie said...

Of course I would. No questions asked.

Ina in Alaska said...

I am so happy that I grew up with parents who encouraged diversity in our lives. My family consists of all cultures, we are quite a diverse group and I enjoy every bit of it so I would buy a children's book featuring a Black child as the main character.

When the DH and I first married, he came with 5 children, the youngest had just turned 3. We had a lovely lady from the Older Persons Action Group come to our home every day to help with the children while I was at work. She was our Black Gramdma!! When the 3 year old started going to nursery and pre-school and even into Kindergarden when she drew our family we were all drawn as a Black family. We were Black for many years. I have one of those portraits framed. Our Black Grandma stayed with us until the youngest was in school full time. It was a wonderful time. xoxo

Ace said...

No, I wouldn't mind. One of my favorite books as a kid was "The Snowy Day" and come to think of it, I read that one to my kids. I am the kid that when Rub-a-Dub Dolly came out INSISTED she get the black one. God love my parents, they got it for me and she is still in my mom's attic, having survived my daughter playing with her, too. I buy Little People for my granddaughter now and buy a mix of races.

Nezzy said...

I bought and read books for my kiddos and grandchildren in all colors and cultures. My daughter did choose some black doll when she was growin' up and I was happy to buy them for her. I think it is important to expose children to many diverse cultures. I am appalled that you have ran into such negative comments. Go forward with your book Hon, the world obviously needs it!!!

God bless and have a great week!!!

Menopausal New Mom said...

What a shame Simone that this should even be an issue. Personally, I don't care what my daughter chooses. On our recent trip, she was given her choice of many stuffed mermaid dolls, she chose the black one, I couldn't have cared less, there was also a blonde one, brunette one like her and a red headed one she could have picked.

She picks what she likes, I don't influence her one way or the other.

Deb

Erin said...

My kids have plenty of books featuring children of different backgrounds/cultures. Two of their favorites are my Ezra Jack Keats---The Snowy Day and A Letter to Amy. I would never dream of discouraging them from choosing a doll or whatever based on the color. It's important to educate them and also for them to realize that all people are different.

;-)

Heart2Heart said...

I would have no problem what color the characters skin is. My issue with anything is what is the message that is being sent and that is always a concern for me. It should never have to do with anything that deals with hate, prejudice, or stereotyping. It's about time we stop worrying about color of peoples skin and dealing with more real issues in the world today.

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

Random thoughts said...

I'm white and when I was younger, I had black dolls, it didn't bother my parents at all. Nowadays, I don't choose a book based on the color of the main character in the book.

Suz said...

I say - publish.

45 years ago a lady gave me a black doll. My mother told me it was a neighbor. I don't remember.

The doll was my favorite. When you tipped her back her eyes closed and she made a sound like a baby saying "Waaa." I still have her sitting on the bed in the guest room and she makes me smile everytime I look at her.

I am anxious to read your book.

Multiple personalities.. said...

Ok, I'm not one to throw down semi-profane phrases in a comment post, but this time I can't help myself. My answer is HELL YEA! Matter of fact, I encourage my son to read books while keeping diversity in mind. I've always taught him that it has nothing to do with skin color, that it's a person's heart and character that is important. I would DEFINITELY read your book!

Lin said...

Yep. I mean, why not?? We have numerous books from when they were young that the main character wasn't Caucasian. But we have always sent our kids to public school where there are many elasticities--it isn't really an issue with us.

I remember my daughter once wanted a doll that was the latest craze. They didn't have any left but the black ones and we bought it for her anyway. She had no problem with the doll, but other kids did. When they would put all the dolls together, the other girls didn't want to play with the black one. My daughter didn't understand that and neither did I. What was with that??! Where did they learn that? Why did they view her as different? I always remember that.

Maria said...

I love this post. I was raised by a very loving family, but there was a multigenerational deep seeded thought process that we were to associate only within our own race. Growing up in a neighborhood that was almost exclusively white it was not difficult to comply. I did not learn to understand it fully and grow beyond it until I was older. My daughter’s daycare is very diverse and she has become friendly with a number of students from varying ethnic backgrounds. Her best friend in her class is black, and the most concern they have for color is whether or not they have matching nail polish. I can’t say that I have with purpose sought books or dolls that focus on children of a different ethnicity than our own, but you’ve actually got me thinking that I should.

Arizona Mamma said...

Absolutely would have ZERO issue with the color of the doll, book etc. In fact, my daughter is in love with Dora the Explorer. She is hispanic...my daughter is as fair as they come. I think it's highly ignorant that anyone would make a choice based on nationality fo the character!

My name is PJ. said...

This is yet another reason why I prefer animals to people. They don't care what color you are, what size or gender you are, what faith your practice...heck, they don't care if you don't get dressed or brush your teeth!

The mere fact that people react negatively to people who aren't just like them sadly does not surprise me. But it's pathetic.

I would absolutely buy your book!

Life with Kaishon said...

In a heartbeat! I give children black dolls and toys all the time now that I have a mixed child. I was surprised that there are so few toys out there that are black. It breaks my heart. Interestingly enough though, as a social worker in inner city Philly, I have found that the families I work with prefer white dolls and such. That just breaks my heart. Why? I think black is where it's at!

Terra said...

A big and complete Yes.
I will email you soon asking what is your address, since you won a copy of "Ladies' No. 1 Detective Agency" today, by commenting on my blog. Hey, the heroine of this book is a fabulous black lady.

peewee said...

that is seriously the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard! Guess those folks didn't go see frog princess! UGH! I get seething angry when racism is STILL alive and being shoved into some kids' psyche.

Kwana said...

What a good post. I too loved reading the comments being a Black woman and writing characters of all races i find it so hard to get published. It's a shame.

Danica said...

Ridiculous. I can't even believe people would actually not choose a book or a child's doll because of the skin color represented.

Angela Cooper said...

It still amazes me that there are still prejudice people out there. The color of someone's skin has never bothered me. I grew up with white baby dolls cause that's just how it was. i would definately buy a book with a black child being the main character but I guess that statement is a bit biast LOL.

 

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