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Racism conundrum

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posted on Jan, 30 2015 @ 12:05 AM
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This post is NOT a joke, it is a real question!

I asked this in another thread but no one really answered, so I am putting it out there.

(Background)
My executive daughter is mentoring a young girl from a very poor school district, she is 8 years old. She is one of 10 children, one is her full sibling, Dad doesn't live with her, the oldest sibling is in jail. The school recognized how bright she is, doing fantastic in math and wanted a mentor for reading and history. My daughter is dyslexic and has overcome it and felt she would be a perfect match to mentor the little girl.

I thought the American Girl books would be a good fit to inspire reading and history for the little girl. So I researched and found there are 2 African-American American Girls. So I ordered some of the books for the little girl. I also went to a "cheap" bookstore to get more books.

My daughter was queasy about me buying the African-American books, since she has quite a few AG books from her childhood. Then when I told the clerk at the bookstore what I wanted and why, she asked "Is the girl African-American?"
I said yes and she directed me to books that the content could be about any race little girl but the illustrations were Black families.

I purchased several of the books and now have the AG books to give my daughter to take to the little girl for their mentoring time.

(QUESTIONS)

Was I racist for looking specifically for books about Black (African American) children?

Would I have been racist just to get a set of the mostly white AG books instead of getting a selection of AG books about mostly black girls (BTW, with one set of books did come one American Indian girl and one white girl)?

Was I racist for even thinking about race when choosing the books for her?

Would I have been racist for not thinking about race when choosing the books for her?

Was I racist for even buying the books for her instead of letting my daughter take her old all white AG books to mentoring?

These are actual questions that I have been wrestling with.

I am truly interested in your responses.


(Followup)

When I told my daughter I bought the books, she said "That's racist."
Just what I expected.

When I asked "Wouldn't it be racist to not get her books about African-American (Black) girls, or look for them?"
She got quiet and changed the subject.

Now I'm not even sure my daughter will share them with the little girl for fear of being called racist for giving the books to the little girl, because most of the books are about African-American children; even though the little girl herself is African-American.

What is your opinion of the situation?




posted on Jan, 30 2015 @ 12:13 AM
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a reply to: grandmakdw

As long as your intentions are good it doesn't matter what others think or say. Anyone who takes issue over this sort of thing is reflecting their own issues on the topic, not anything bad you have done.

I think pictures that are relatable will make the overall experience better. Children don't get bothered by such things at all, but on a subconscious level I think it is better to feel included.


You did a good thing, your intentions will shine through. There is no black and white answer, pun intended.



posted on Jan, 30 2015 @ 12:18 AM
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repost from the other thread (in case you don't go back to read it):

i don't think it matters if they are african american. lol i don't think it matters if they aren't african american. either way is fine, is what i'm saying. i think you're worrying needlessly.
edit on 30-1-2015 by undo because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 30 2015 @ 12:24 AM
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You are wanting other peoples opinions and what you are guaranteed to get will be the full spectrum of views.

The most racist people I have come across are the ones who scream at everyone else for being racist while calling every white person, 'White Trash.'

Finding books that a child can relate to is the way to go.

Your intentions were pure and so was what you have done.

Tell the rest of the world to get knotted.

P



posted on Jan, 30 2015 @ 12:25 AM
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a reply to: undo

Thanks, yours was the only reply, you probably noticed.

I did get pretty upset when my daughter said that the books I bought were racist because they were mostly about african-american (Black) girls and families. As you noticed, I had been soul searching the issue and was a little worried about if I was doing the right thing or not.

My daughter said she probably won't give the books to the girl. I asked if she would give them to the school library and then let the girl borrow them. My daughter thought that was a good compromise. Makes me sad though, I really wanted the little girl to have American Girl books of her very own.





edit on 12Fri, 30 Jan 2015 00:27:20 -0600am13001amk305 by grandmakdw because: addition



posted on Jan, 30 2015 @ 12:29 AM
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White people need to tone down that terrifying racism alert that goes off whenever they see a brown person. Seriously. I've had it and overcome it. Very few people are going to care if their toy/book/movie etc has someone who is or isn't the same color or not.

OP: nothing to worry about, unless you are thinking/saying malicious things you have acted in a wonderfully charitable manner.



posted on Jan, 30 2015 @ 01:00 AM
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Purchasing books that the little girl will enjoy and can relate to is not racist. You were thoughtful and caring and kind.



posted on Jan, 30 2015 @ 01:02 AM
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I wasn't even aware that they published books for different races. Give her an unedited copy of "Tom Sawyer" and "Huckleberry Finn." Have a discussion afterward. Peace.



posted on Jan, 30 2015 @ 01:05 AM
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originally posted by: grandmakdw
This post is NOT a joke, it is a real question!

I asked this in another thread but no one really answered, so I am putting it out there.

(Background)
My executive daughter is mentoring a young girl from a very poor school district, she is 8 years old. She is one of 10 children, one is her full sibling, Dad doesn't live with her, the oldest sibling is in jail. The school recognized how bright she is, doing fantastic in math and wanted a mentor for reading and history. My daughter is dyslexic and has overcome it and felt she would be a perfect match to mentor the little girl.

I thought the American Girl books would be a good fit to inspire reading and history for the little girl. So I researched and found there are 2 African-American American Girls. So I ordered some of the books for the little girl. I also went to a "cheap" bookstore to get more books.

My daughter was queasy about me buying the African-American books, since she has quite a few AG books from her childhood. Then when I told the clerk at the bookstore what I wanted and why, she asked "Is the girl African-American?"
I said yes and she directed me to books that the content could be about any race little girl but the illustrations were Black families.

I purchased several of the books and now have the AG books to give my daughter to take to the little girl for their mentoring time.

(QUESTIONS)

Was I racist for looking specifically for books about Black (African American) children?

Would I have been racist just to get a set of the mostly white AG books instead of getting a selection of AG books about mostly black girls (BTW, with one set of books did come one American Indian girl and one white girl)?

Was I racist for even thinking about race when choosing the books for her?

Would I have been racist for not thinking about race when choosing the books for her?

Was I racist for even buying the books for her instead of letting my daughter take her old all white AG books to mentoring?

These are actual questions that I have been wrestling with.

I am truly interested in your responses.


(Followup)

When I told my daughter I bought the books, she said "That's racist."
Just what I expected.

When I asked "Wouldn't it be racist to not get her books about African-American (Black) girls, or look for them?"
She got quiet and changed the subject.

Now I'm not even sure my daughter will share them with the little girl for fear of being called racist for giving the books to the little girl, because most of the books are about African-American children; even though the little girl herself is African-American.

What is your opinion of the situation?



A Racist SHOULD be defined as: thinking one or all races are inherently inferior to yours.

Now you could say or do something that is raist with out being one. Like the second post said it's really all about intentions and precieved intentions . It's more about the why then the what.


The most important thing is to do what's in the best intrest for the child period.


It's sad that 99% of it is precieved racism where it was never intended.
Lke when a dem says some thing kinda racist no one freaks out. They assume he had good intentions. But let an old white stuffy republican do it and people assume he ment the worst.

In my personal experience growing up poor and having a few black best friends. It's about breaking into there circle of trust. Show them you really do have their back and you will be considered family.



posted on Jan, 30 2015 @ 01:13 AM
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Buying books with African-American characters for an African-American girl isn't racist, unless the books are derogatory against black people (which I know the American Girl books are NOT).

We need to remember the definition of racist.


rac·ism noun \ˈrā-ˌsi-zəm also -ˌshi-\
: poor treatment of or violence against people because of their race

: the belief that some races of people are better than others


www.merriam-webster.com...

It isn't racist to find positive books that the African-American girl can relate to, and celebrate her ethnicity. It's being thoughtful.



posted on Jan, 30 2015 @ 01:56 AM
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The question shouldn't have been asked by the bookseller.

You have come away and on reflection are pondering the situation.

To me that says you have the right intentions and you know you are not racist.



posted on Jan, 30 2015 @ 02:27 AM
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a reply to: grandmakdw


Was I racist for looking specifically for books about Black (African American) children?


No, not racist...but why?

To my mind, this just perpetuates the belief that there are differences - aren't we told that there aren't any differences?

In any case, would this courtesy be extended to a white child in a predominantly black society?



posted on Jan, 30 2015 @ 02:43 AM
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a reply to: grandmakdw

I don't believe your intentions are bad at all. The fact that you a concerned enough member of Society to even think in a positive direction and help someone who needs help is beautiful.

Perhaps a solution would be to purchase a variety of the books with each race represented and allow the young girl to choose herself which she wished to learn from. I am not familiar with the titles you listed but perhaps if the publishers would just include a variety of each race together in one presentation them we would not even be addressing the question.

Thank you for being involved in a very worthwhile endeavor and perhaps if we all worked towards helping each other then someday we will not even think of differentiating between color of our skins to even be a difference, Children, I am unsure of this child's age, are often unaware of race other than curiosity unless taught by an adult so I would say allow her to choose.



posted on Jan, 30 2015 @ 06:24 AM
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Maybe people just (overthink )when it comes to race .
Why not just let her pick her own ?
Your hearts in the right place , good man.



posted on Jan, 30 2015 @ 07:44 AM
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a reply to: grandmakdw

Hi there.

Well you and your daughter have both committed a heinous crime (delivered with total humour). I would lightly criticise you both for NOT ASKING THE CHILD. She is 8 years old. Empower her with choice and decision making and DON'T decide for her.

Neither you or your daughter are doing anything racist. You are both acting out of sensitivity and concern for this precious young soul. I think the answer really is to include the young lady and give her the choice.

This is just what I think after reading your conundrum. It is none of my business beyond that and no judgement ever.

I must say how beautiful to read of your care and concern for others here displayed by you and your daughter. People like you make the world go round. What a lovely "human" thread to read!



posted on Jan, 30 2015 @ 01:12 PM
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a reply to: grandmakdw

You're too preoccupied with race imo.

The OP uses 'race' and 'racism' 14 times and seems to frame the kid as an object of race instead of just another little person.

This isn't criticising you as a person as your intentions to help out appear kindly. If you reflect on the situation a little more, you might agree that you aren't quite seeing her as a little girl. If you get the chance to get to know her more, all these fears should evaporate.

Good luck!



posted on Jan, 30 2015 @ 03:13 PM
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a reply to: Kandinsky

Thank you for your input.

When I was originally told the child's story by my daughter. it made me sad. It also got me thinking, what would be the best way to help her with both reading and with history?
Immediately the American Girl series came to mind.

I was also thinking, what would she relate to best, which girl? So I choose 2 girls, Addy during the civil war, and Cecile is from a wealthy family who lives in New Orleans in 1853 during an epidemic, and her best friend is white.

That was all I was thinking, until
my daughter pointed out that my choice of girls to read about could be considered racist on my part.

I was aghast.
I grew up in military housing which was totally integrated and have lived my entire life in an integrated culture.

10 or more years ago, I don't think that it would have been pointed out to me that my thought process could be considered offensive.

Thus I began my deep introspection on the subject which I laid out in the OP.

I think it is a real dilemma for those of us who want to be sensitive and caring to others.

With the way society finds fault with ones thinking so quickly and calls things offensive that may be just thoughtless -
well, I think it is an important issue for us all to consider.

I am also shocked that you see my introspection as thinking of the child as an object.
I think of her as a young girl, who like my daughter is very bright,
but (also like my daughter did)
needs help reading.

I was looking, in my old fashioned, naive way, for the best way I could help in this situation.
The child, with some mentoring and guidance could one day be a Doctor or anything she wants to be.
My daughter overcame her dyslexia and learned to read well enough to become a top executive where she works.
My thinking was originally, this little girl is just like my daughter.

The fact you were disturbed by my ruminating and use of words to express my inner conflict,
shows that in fact this is an important topic of discussion, not to be dismissed.

I am surely not the only person who after being told I was insensitive on racial matters,
felt damned if I do this, and damned if I do that.
That there is no way I could help this little girl without someone "calling me out" on my motives.


Saddest part of all, while I intended for the little girl to have American Girl books of her very own, they will now belong to the library for her to borrow. All because no matter what I choose to do, someone would question my motives and call them bad.

The whole thing really depresses me.


edit on 4Fri, 30 Jan 2015 16:51:32 -0600pm13001pmk305 by grandmakdw because: grammar



posted on Jan, 31 2015 @ 01:25 AM
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Yes, unless you bought a book about a transgender, hemaphrodite, undocumented immigrant, specially abled, urban farming adoptee being raised by two same sex partners struggling against discrimination because they are vegans whose recycling efforts are just the tip of the iceberg in the push for a "green" community, you are a white privilege racist.



posted on Jan, 31 2015 @ 02:29 AM
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When the AG books first came out I always identified with Kirsten over Samantha or Molly. Why? Because she had blonde hair like me. There is a reason American Girl dolls ca be made you look like the child they are to be given too. It has nothing to do with race.



posted on Jan, 31 2015 @ 10:16 AM
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originally posted by: calstorm
When the AG books first came out I always identified with Kirsten over Samantha or Molly. Why? Because she had blonde hair like me. There is a reason American Girl dolls ca be made you look like the child they are to be given too. It has nothing to do with race.


I knew that they choose the girls they did so that all girls could find someone who looked like them, that they could identify with. Which was why I choose the girls I did. So yes, I was thinking about her race, ie which girls look like her, which girls could she most identify with.

I actually bought some of the custom dolls, back in the day, when my girls were young, customized to look like my daughters.




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