Hadn’t thought of this…

Yesterday afternoon, I took Mary and her friend to the local pizza shop for lunch.  It’s a sports themed type of place, and as such, there is a large screen TV that always has some sports game on.  Yesterday it was basketball.

At some point, a commercial came on and a black man dressed up in a suit stepped up to a podium.  Mary said “Hey look, mom, it’s Barack Obama.”  I glanced over at the TV to see an athlete, large as life, complete with large karat diamond stud earings on the screen.

Great, I thought.  My daughter now thinks that every clean shaven black man in a suit is Barack Obama. Of course I just casually told her that it wasn’t President Obama.

But as I thought about it, I began to wonder; is this a good thing or a bad thing?

What do you think?

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4 thoughts on “Hadn’t thought of this…

  1. Debbie says:

    I am not thinking this is a good thing or a bad thing. I don’t think we can look at it like that. I think it goes to show that young children truly do not see color (race) when they look at people…they are taught color (race). I am not saying that do not see it as a difference cause I think they may…a difference just like tall or short, heavy or slim. They may see it as a difference but not as an identifier of person…if that makes any sense. And unfortunately, as parents, we are not the only ones teaching our children. I think Mary may not have “seen” differences in color of people as an identifier until the media brought it to her attention. This, of course, is only my opinion…but I certainly have a lot to back it up with being in the classroom now a days and seeing/hearing children and how they are to people who are of different skin color.

  2. lori says:

    That’s all really good stuff, Debbie. I think you are right.

    Part of what I was wondering is, is this indicative of the changes that are bound to happen in our society now that we do have an african-american as our president. I had never thought about if african-american children viewed all clean shaven white men in suits as president Bush. And I don’t think it’s related to race, just that the image of the president is so media intensive…but the kids don’t see the face, they see the image…

  3. Sharon says:

    Just to share a similar experience of my own: When our sons were little boys, garbage day was big. They loved the garbage truck and were fascinated by the fact that guys actually rode on it while standing on the outside of the truck. It happened that, on our section of the route, the two guys hanging on the outside of the truck (who were my son Jared’s heroes) were African American. One day while in the grocery store with Jared, he spotted an African American man and said, “Hey Mommy, look – a garbage man!” Of course, in his lexicon, that meant that this guy had the absolute best job in the entire world! I explained that he could have been anything – a policeman, a doctor, a student – anything, and that the color of a man’s skin doesn’t limit his job. Jared, who couldn’t have been more than four years old at the time, looked up at me with confusion in his eyes and said, “But Mommy, he had hair like just like our garbageman.” Jared never even saw the color of his skin.

  4. lori says:

    That’s a cute story, Sharon! Thanks for sharing.

    I really think that if we all saw the person and not the face or the color of the skin or the gender, our world would be so different.

    I’m sure this new president will bring a whole new dimension to how kids see the office of president. Not only African American kids but white kids too. Hopefully they will grow up with a different understanding of the world then previous generations!

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