August 23, 2011

I have a dream

Every since Clover was a baby I have made a conscious effort not to give her gender specific toys. Meaning, I did not buy her pink toys or toys that were geared towards girls. Instead, she decided to ignore the blocks and play with dolls, jewelry and anything that could go on her arm like a purse. She decided to like what society has deemed “girl toys” all on her own. And I’m okay with that, because she chose it. I did not choose for her that she should prefer baby dolls to blocks and trucks. Her favorite color is pink because she likes pink, not because I told her pink was a girl color and she needed to like pink. I even go to the extreme to tell her, while I’m painting her nails, that some boys paint their nails too. I pray that my children are raised with enough respect and diversity to treat every person the same, regardless of their race, sexual orientation or gender. I feel like the best way that I can do that is to not say things like, “only girls paint their nails” – because that isn’t true. Or, "only girls carry purses" because that isn’t true either. Or, "only boys do yard work and work with tools"…

When I was little, I picked out a black baby doll at the store. I had no idea that the baby was a black baby; I just knew it was the one I wanted. So my Mom bought her for me. I was oblivious to the fact that people had different skin colors, and probably still would be, if not for other kids teaching me that there was a difference.

I firmly believe that if we stop teaching children that there is such a thing as different races, or that certain sexes have to like certain things, or even that because you are a girl you have to love a boy, they will remain unaware. I realize I sound a little Martin Luther King Jr “I have a dream” here, but seriously. For the longest time Clover loved waffles without syrup. Not because she tried syrup and decided she didn’t like it, but because I never gave her syrup and she only knew what waffles tasted like plain. In the same sense, if she was never taught that there were different races, I feel that she might possibly remain happily oblivious to the fact that there are. She wouldn’t have to decide to not be racist; she just wouldn’t know that there was such a thing.

So, if you ever see Miles with painted toenails, or Clover playing with an Asian baby doll… you will know why.

Clover with my 2 favorite baby dolls from when I was little

No comments:

Post a Comment