Thursday, August 21, 2008

About G's Dolls and the Disheartening post

I don't actually have a problem with blond blue dolls or really barbie (I would prefer more Asian inspired Barbies though). G has a wide range of diverse dolls even caucasian babies (my Madame Alexander and a few cabbage patch gifts). She doesn't play with them often though. If she does it is sporadic and she mostly plays with the Asian featured bitty baby. And she mostly dresses and undresses it and covers it with blankets. Mostly she is a creative child and plays with ink stamps, colors, paints and scissors.

I haven't gotten rid of the books yet. Last night reading one of the books we turned to a page featuring kelly and her friends, I asked G to point to the one that looks like her. She pointed to the African American one with the dark straight hair and the darkest skin on the page. I said, "No that one is not Asian, she is African American." I did however point out what did look like G about her with the long straight black hair (though I doubt that is totally correct for the doll either).

Then I got the other book out and that was the book that had the Asian friend of Kelly's in the play ground. I said, "Okay, now show me which one looks like you." And she pointed to the Asian one on the slide and then we talked about all the differences in the kids (with no value judgments) in the picture. There were actually no Asian friends in the first book we read. But they are diverse kids in both books. Lots of skin tones and ethnicity.

And for someone who asked, G's pediatrician and dentists are both Chinese American and both families grandparents came from the south of China like her (coincidence there). We do go to the Chinese market and we do things with our FCC friends because those families most resemble us. She def wants a baby sister to be Asian to no other option is working for her. Sadly I was hoping to go Ethiopia or Columbia since Vietnam closed and China closed. And she isn't ready for a baby sister at all so this is like years from now anyway.

Now our community is pretty diverse, but I also know I cannot teach her Chinese culture. I also realize that truly the only way she would really get Chinese culture would be to live there. Otherwise it is just bits and pieces anyway. I encourage her to learn about China and we talk about China a lot. I also let her pic the books she wants to read and sometimes they are on China or the Chinese Cinderella YehShen or Lon PoPo. 

I think I am doing all I can do except language. We have a Chinese kindergarten within 35 miles or so of us but it is mostly for Chinese kids with Chinese speaking parents and the school is quick to let you know that. Plus the times of the class are geared for SAHMs or are too early in the evening for me to get home and back. Language study will be encouraged, but again I don't speak it so I can't truly reinforce it, and if I did it would be with a weird southern accent.

I think the point of the post was that at some place in her head the girl with the brown hair who more closely looked like G was not pretty to G and that bothered me. Bratz dolls are totally forbidden in our house (on principle, too smutty). I played with Barbie as a child, but I am not ready for her to focus her energy on them yet.

We did get a chance last night to talk about beauty and the beast and how belle is both beautiful inside and out and the beast is beautiful inside only at first and gaston is beautiful outside only(supposed to be) and what that all means (well as much as a 4 year old can grasp). I tell you muddling through the implications of race in our family is difficult and rewarding because I am learning so much myself.

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