Amy at My Friend Amy is this week’s Kool-Aid Flavor of the Week for stepping out of her comfort zone and saying what needed to be said, regardless of whether it offended readers. It wasn’t something she wanted to do, offend people, but she felt she needed to say what was on her mind because it was the right thing to do.
Before I had read this post, I hadn’t known anything of the whitewashing of covers. Amy’s post also made me aware of other bloggers out there that I hadn’t read like Susan of Color Online and Ari of Reading In Color, who led me to several other wonderful new blogs, as well. My Google Reader has nearly doubled in subscriptions, and I’m better for the diversity it has brought. Her post has also made me think about how I, a white person, have been fairly cacooned to a lot of the issues people of color face.
I’ve done a lot of thinking about what it means for Maggie, especially, being half-Vietnamese in a community where there are few Asians. There have been candid conversations with her recently in which she’s expressed how she sometimes wishes she was all of one or the other instead of biracial. Recently, her classroom finally received a second Asian, but to her dismay, the new person is a boy. Besides the fact he is a BOY, and icky by gender (she’s in 5th grade, lol), she’s not terribly fond of him as a person (he says “Man!” a lot, and is disgusting and ill-mannered, according to her) and she says he looks like her daddy. I’ve not seen the boy yet, but since he’s on the basketball team and she’s a cheerleader, I will see him at their first home game. One of the things that distresses her most about Day Day is that all of their classmates are trying to push them together as boyfriend and girlfriend, just because he’s Asian. Honestly, I think she’d like him as a friend, she does shows occasional admiration for him and, apparently, he has the redeeming quality of standing up for others from stories she’s told.
All of that paragraph was to say that Amy’s post On Being Offended has made me think a lot about how can I help Mags navigate through growing up and try to be supportive and understanding. I can understand to an extent what it’s like for her, but I can never fully understand. I see her beauty, grace and athleticism, and intelligence and listen to her talk about being an 10-year-old girl, and I am perplexed by the mystery of it all. I was an overweight, social misfit, and never understood the social play that went on between my peers until I was in my mid-twenties. Add to that the fact that when people look at her, they see a person of color and have reactions to that, either involuntary or conscious.
Most who meet Mags for the first time think she’s Hispanic, partly because there is a lot more Latinos than Asians, but also because most of her close friends are Spanish. She is already beginning to feel the pains of racism as one of her classmates is known to “hate Mexicans”, and another accuses Maggie of being racist because she’s interested in Asian things. And I’m beginning to see it having an effect on her this year as she’s starting to become a bit more shy and reserved, and less of the outgoing little girl who knew, at 18-months-old, how to get strangers to help her do and get the things she wanted. I don’t know what to do to help her, other than love her and encourage her and to remind her who she really is. AND I know this will only get harder for her as she gets older.
Well, this post is NOT where I wanted it all to go, but it kept winding back that way all the same, and perhaps that is part of what Amy’s post has done. Her post, along with Lenore’s International Book Bloggers Mentor Program and Dawn’s Kiva posts, has made me think and think a lot about my place among so many both in the blogosphere and in the world. They impressed me enough that I wanted to tell others how much so by started the Flavor of the Week.
And now I’m out of Flavors that I had in the can, so I want y’all to let me know who has inspired you to think? What Blogger is your Flavor of the Week? What posts have made you reach outside of yourself and do something community-wise?
Don’t forget to check out On Being Offended at My Friend Amy, it’s an excellent post :-)
Filed under: Flavor of the Week | Tagged: Asian, biracial, Color Online, cover whitewashing, Flavor of the Week, gender, girls vs boys, Google Reader, hispanic, Kool-Aid Flavor of the Week, Latino, My Friend Amy, racism, rasing biracial children, Reading In Color, Vietnamese, whitewashing | 10 Comments »