Friday, March 27, 2009

Introducing: Follow-up Fridays

So, I had another idea for a recurring feature on my blog, follow-up Fridays. This is where I take a comment that was made on one of my previous posts, and respond to it with with my thoughts and reactions. My hope is that this will encourage people to comment more. Maybe one day I can give out a prize to the person who is chosen for follow-up fridays (that would be cool, huh?). For now though, they'll have to settle for a very small amount of fame.

So this weeks comment comes from mrsmarlowe, on the post about the game Candy Land found here. In that post, I asked some questions about how the kids on the box would or would not influence a white parent's decision to buy the game. This is what mrsmarlowe shared:

"Being white, I don't know that I would notice where the white kids are. I would probably not buy it if all the kids were black. It seems to be impeeding on another culture. Like me getting a perm to straighten my hair. KWIM?"

This is a great comment and provides a lot of good jumping off points for further discussion.

"I would probably not buy it if all the kids were black. It seems to be impeeding on another culture. Like me getting a perm to straighten my hair. KWIM?"

I have to say that I am not sure that I know what you mean. My first thought when I read it was, "So does that mean that my parents shouldn't have bought the old version for me, since it only had white kids on the front of the box?"

Is who's on the box an illustration of who is supposed to play with it?

And then I thought to myself "Well, yeah,--it kind of is!"

There are two reasons I'm advocating for more variety on the box.

First, I want kids from marginalized groups to see themselves represented. I want them to look at the box and say, "This game is for me. Kids that look like me like to play Candy Land."

Secondly (and dare I say--equally as important,) I want white kids to look at the box and say "Kids that don't look like me like to play Candy Land too. I see a picture of a kid like me holding hands with a kid that doesn't look like me. I see kids that don't look like me in front of me in the line--and I'm okay with that." Even, "I don't see myself represented here at all, but this game looks like fun--so I'm going to ask my parents repeatedly to buy it for me."

That's what happened for a significant portion of the games, toys, and books that I had--and I discovered some cool -ish that way.

back to mrsmarlowe
"Being white, I don't know that I would notice where the white kids are."

I am so glad that you wrote this. This is like, one of the key points of my blog.

Has anyone ever noticed how I talk a lot about "white people" on this blog? That's kind of strange, huh? I'm betting money that in your daily life, you are rarely referred to as a white person. That's why I do it so much here, to remind you that it's true.

I don't think it's a bad thing.
I don't think it's a good thing.
It's just a thing--since it's part of your identity, it's up to you to decide what it means.

Much like in my daily life, I am very rarely referred to as an "able-bodied" person. But I am.

Our society is set up in such a way that I can choose not to think about that fact at all. And if I do choose to think about it, I can say, "Yeah, well that's just the way it is--people who can't move around like I can just need to deal with it." and lots of other people will back me up on that.

Or, I can say as I'm walking down the street, "Hey, I notice that these curbs aren't slanted down--that must make it difficult for people in a wheelchair to navigate in this neighborhood." Or when I'm in a store I can notice, "Boy, these racks are really close together, isn't this a violation of ADA regulations?"

I am making a choice to become more aware of myself and the world around me, and how that world might look to someone that's not me. I haven't always liked what I've seen, but closing my eyes to it sure as heck isn't going to make it all go away.

As always, I welcome your comments.


  1. Anonymous2:58 PM

    Hey! I just wanted to say that I really liked this post, and like the idea of you responding to provoking comments.

    You are right about "white people" not being referenced as such. It seems that qualifiers are only added when needed to describe something that is "different" or "worse" than everyone else.... with able-bodied white people being the presumed norm.

  2. I feel the same way that all it takes is just opening your eyes and seeing the world through someone else's eyes. I've experienced that a lot with a father who is now disabled. There are so many things that I take for granted in my everyday life. Thanks for the entry!