It would be a different issue if it was just Hanna Montana, but its not. It’s practically every girl on Disney channel (and Nickelodeon, and Noggin). It’s majority of the dolls at the store. It’s most of the faces in the magazines. It’s many of the illustrations in library books. I can’t allow this society to saddle my daughter with all these images that look nothing like her and think it won’t have an affect. I’ve seen too many beautiful little brown girls wish away their brownness. That’s more brown confidence shot to the ether.
I remember my mother searching through the library books to make sure they had enough brown faces in them. I remember her buying me brown dolls and refusing to let me “perm” my hair (no matter how much I begged). I didn’t realize it at the time, but she was arming me with tools I needed to form a healthy, solid sense of self worth and acceptance.
This wouldn’t be an issue if we lived in a world that loved everyone equally, but we don’t. Our world is one that has infected the black community–and other communities as well–with the diseased notions of “good-hair” and the “paper bag test.” Our world is one that makes otherwise beautiful people bleach their skin in the hopes if making it lighter, better. Our world is one that has black women buying up every hair product they can that promises to make their tresses straighter and silkier. It’s a tough world. I’m bringing my armor.
Be clear: This doesn’t mean that I’m going to shield her from all things white. That would be dangerous and impossible. I want her to recognize the beauty of diversity and all the different colors of people there are. I just don’t want her to ever forget how beautiful she is.