Everyone is squeeing over this Vine video and it's pretty darn cute. But I don't know ... I just feel a certain way about it. It's a video of a white toddler calling herself a "strong black woman." What's my problem? I love the way she gets up in the camera, her little finger waving. I love how she already has attitude. She's going to need it in this world! So why am I also kind of shaking my head?
Because -- she's fly, but strong black women do not exist solely for our amusement. (Please Google "minstrelsy.") That 'tude, that sass? It comes from years of dealing with unbelievable amounts of racist bullshit, overt and subtle, and learning to hold your head high in spite of it all. Spend an evening over drinks with some of my friends and you'll get it. The road to "strong black woman" is hard and painful. Also, no self-respecting strong black woman that I know would actually say that un-ironically.
Oh but hey, I have a sense of humor.
It's not like I don't appreciate this cute girl's act, which she apparently picked up from whatever it is her parents are watching. (Real Housewives of Atlanta, I'm guessing.) I do! I just hope she actually knows some strong black women, in real life. I hope the black people she sees on Mommy and Daddy's tee vee aren't the only people of color she ever sees. I hope she gets the chance to meet people of all different colors and backgrounds.
I hope she listens to their stories and shares some of her own. And I hope she comes to understand her place in the world. She has a little privilege as a white person. She faces some challenges as a female. And right now, while she's a fresh human being, her parents have the opportunity to make their daughter a true citizen of the world.
Oh look at me. I'm getting all serious about a Vine video that lasts just a few seconds. It's such a little thing. But the way people respond to it sure says a lot about how we raise our kids.
Do your kids ever imitate what they see on TV?
Image via Madds/Vine