Before I became a parent, and certainly before I became a parent of 2 little girls, it was easy for me to say I would boycott anything racist. I have successfully avoided Abercrombie and Fitch, Denny's, Desperate Housewives, and other pop culture arenas that have either condoned racism, racist views, or racist practices. So far, so good.
For the past 5 years, my husband and I have also been pretty successful in calling out key stereotypes for our children. While they do love the whole Princess thing, we don't buy Barbies, don't buy movies with all white casts, nor do we purchase the DVDs (yes, even the "Limited Edition" ones) of movies that have racist stereotypes.
But, now that I'm a parent of young girls, I am faced with new challenges of balancing pop culture with cultural appropriateness. Because my husband and I know that certain companies tend to perpetuate stereotypes of people of color, we watch the shows with our children. Yes, we let them watch it. No, we don't let them watch it alone. This was a tough decision for us. Our anti-racist tendencies want to ban all of these shows from our house; our realist tendencies recognize that we'd rather have our children explore stereotypes while we can help to dismantle them together.
But, the latest Miley Cyrus BS has hit me hard. Really?? Playing "chinky eye" is a fun joke for you? And, doing the "chinky eye" thing while your little buddy is sitting next to you somehow makes it "not a big deal?" I think not.
Thankfully, our house has never purchased a Hannan Montana/Miley Cyrus DVD or CD, mostly because her latest movie was in 3-D. And, when you have a child with only 1 eye, the whole 3-D thing just doesn't work for us (see... yet again, an example of how cancer was a blessing in disguise!).
But, the girls love one of her songs "Fly on the Wall." They request it every single morning, and it's readily available on the Cable box. But, I watch the video -- especially these days -- and cringe. I want to talk with them about the Miley picture, which they haven't seen yet. I want to show them that their Miley is mocking their Mommy, her people, her family. That what she is doing is mean and makes "mommy's heart feel sad."
Would it matter if my kids were just a little bit older? I recently talked this over with an anti-racist speaker that I met the other day; his kids are 8 and 10. Yes, he talked with them about it. He had a conversation about what it meant to do what Miley was doing; what it meant to make fun of other people. Those kids got it.
What are others doing in the face of the Miley discussion. Surf on over to Anti-Racist Parent where I know the discussion is happening there, too!