When my daughter was about 9 she asked me why there were no pictures of any black people on the walls of our home. I was stunned. It made me realize that most of us aren't aware of our children's need to be able to identify thermselves with the world around them.
On our walls were pictures of Christ, a white girl sitting at the knee of Jesus, a white boy just baptized, a white family in front of the temple, the first presidency... you get the point. The portraits are beautiful and positive. But she was trying to identify with how she fits in.
I took a good look around at my apartment. She had fun toys and books and dolls she played with. They were all white. Nothing wrong with that, but culturally, there was something wrong with that. My family it multi Cultural. My stepmom and 4 step siblings and their kids, white. My Dad's brother married a filipeno woman 3 decades ago so their kids are bi-racial. My Brother's first wife was black and french creole, her people were from Louisiana, so their they're bi-racial as well. My Great-Great Grandmother was full blooded Indian, another, great grandmother half black, half white, another, half black half indian.... you get the picture.
I made some choices and decided my home atmosphere should reflect my family. And I needed to find a way to incorporate that with Gospel Principles. Not easy to do in Utah.
I purchased a calendar depicting black art and framed some of the pictures. On a trip to Vegas I found some black greeting cards and framed them as well.
I made come conscious efforts to purchase black dolls, books, videos, even christmas ornaments and decorations. I think one of the most difficult things for me to find in Utah were black dolls that weren't dressed like aunt Jemima or slave looking servants. There were beautiful porclean dolls and barbies and baby dolls in beautiful lace dresses. They were all pretty much white dolls.
I soon began to learn how these things can effect the self esteem of a child. How must if feel to see dolls and toys reflecting your face as servants, or slaves while dolls of other races hand on lacey dresses and hats, or native costume in bright colors and cool accesories. Yeah, I was getting to see things from her point of view.
As the "eternal youth advisor/young women's president" I began to learn what kind of effects these things have on the youth of the church, especially the ethnic youth of the church. I've heard them call each other the racial slurs and the ethnically inappropriate jokes. We need to surround out kids with the positive and beauty of all culturals and diversities.
It's important to children to be able to identify with the world around them. To know there are people and things just like them. It helps to build confidence and and more importantly self esteem.
Although nationally it's easier finding ethnic toys and books, it can still be difficult. I've become part of an affiliation that have ethnic toys, books and dolls of all races: Asian, Bi-racial, black, latin, native american, Pacific Island and yes, white.
So take a look at the website.
I'm also going to have a permanent link to it on this webpage (on the right hand side under the heading JUST LIKE ME.) It is also a perfect website for gift giving. If nothing else, poke around the website.
Every child wants to be able to see and hear things that are "JUST LIKE ME"To see the variety of toys/dolls available for girls and boys of all ethnicity:Click here to browse