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September 23, 2009

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kcinnova

I'll be interested in reading other comments. My only thought is that the character in the first photo looks like a muppet from Sesame Street!

allmycke

Sorry, but I think your explanation is closest to the truth... Come to think of it - why are the characters in the first picture not wearing skirts???
We've got a long way to go before we're alle qual!

allmycke

* all equal

Kimberly

I think that it's because adults are the only ones who care. Most first graders haven't had the experiences that would make them care or notice the difference, especially since they are in a very diverse school/area. I could be wrong, but that's what I think. :)

Christiane

Interesting. I know you can't ask the kids their thoughts, but it would be fascinating if you could. I think your explanation is a good one. Remember that movie with John Travolta (years ago) where the majority of models, dolls and media portrayals were African American? That's what this post reminds me of.

Maureen@IslandRoar

Wow, that's interesting. Even in countries where the skin color is very dark, the lighter-skinned people are often revered or thought of as more beautiful. Is it all society's doing??
I don't know. Good post.

busy bee suz

This is amazing. I did see something on this before on 20/20. They gave children different colored dolls and asked which were the "pretty" ones. Most of the dark colored children thought the white (peach) dolls were prettier. Somehow, through parents or media, white has been toted as the prettier race. I find it very alarming and sad how this happens. Children of every color are beautiful.

Jenn @ Juggling Life

That's what I thought the first time, but when black kids almost started
crying and were saying, "No! My skin is not this dark!" I reevaluated.
Jenn

On Wed, Sep 23, 2009 at 10:36 PM, wrote:

Manic Mommy

I remember that 20/20 as well. So sad. Hopefully, all the little things you do will change their perception.

Smalltown Mom

I had a very similar experience -- painting larger versions. The first group of children (mostly darker skinned) all picked the lightest color. For the next group, the teacher suggested dabbing the paint on their hands, and picking the color that matched best. Then the color choices were more realistic. Except the two blonde girls who picked the darkest color - I guess it matched their tans.

Johannarupp@yahoo.com

I think it's probably because it's easier to see color on lighter colored paper rather than dark? Nobody has ever chosen dark canvases for their paintings, you know?

Coco

I wonder if some part of this is that it's easier to draw on lighter paper? I'm not saying the external ideas of beauty aren't involved somewhere, but it really is easier to put features & details on lighter rather than darker paper...

~annie

Yes, lighter backgrounds do show detail better if they children used crayons or pencils, but if you were gluing items to the paper (as in the photos) that argument doesn't hold as much water. Very interesting thing to ponder!

Green Girl in Wisconsin

Wow. That is amazing. My sons have voluntarily colored themselves all kinds of shades and they are as white as you can get. But even Greg colors his skin brown in the summertime because "I am tan". They seem aware of skin color but we live in a homogenous (sp?) area so perhaps it sticks out more? I don't know...they have some relatives who are Puerto Rican and black...that is an interesting thing you've experienced.

Gladys

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. My thoughts were immediately of course it's easier to work with a lighter color than a darker color. You can match colors better. It had nothing to do with ethniticiy. Sometimes it just what it is.

Jenn @ Juggling Life

What makes me believe it had to do with skin color was that the students
actually recoiled in horror and exclaimed, "I don't have dark skin!" I heard
this from white, black, Hispanic and Middle-Eastern kids.
Jenn

On Thu, Sep 24, 2009 at 2:58 PM, wrote:

Jenn @ Juggling Life

What makes me believe it had to do with skin color was that the students
actually recoiled in horror and exclaimed, "I don't have dark skin!" I heard
this from white, black, Hispanic and Middle-Eastern kids.
Jenn

On Thu, Sep 24, 2009 at 9:49 AM, wrote:

Jenn @ Juggling Life

What makes me believe it had to do with skin color was that the students
actually recoiled in horror and exclaimed, "I don't have dark skin!" I heard
this from white, black, Hispanic and Middle-Eastern kids.
Jenn

On Thu, Sep 24, 2009 at 7:47 AM, wrote:

Jenn @ Juggling Life

What makes me believe it had to do with skin color was that the students
actually recoiled in horror and exclaimed, "I don't have dark skin!" I heard
this from white, black, Hispanic and Middle-Eastern kids.
Jenn

On Thu, Sep 24, 2009 at 7:39 AM, wrote:

Brightside-Susan

I believe the 20/20 show was actually based on an experient in the 60's which they did again thinking the outcome would be different - and to their shock, it wasn't. They had no explaination except that there is still a bias toward lighter skin. That does not explain the white kids going for darker color - maybe their parents are into tanning?

suburbancorrespondent

Wow. Sad.

Jenn @ Juggling Life

I didn't want to mention this, but they were special ed--I don' t think they
had a clue.

On Thu, Sep 24, 2009 at 6:11 PM, wrote:

Melanie @ Mel, A Dramatic Mommy

Unfortunately Jenn I think you're right. And I have to respectfully disagree with Kimberly. My bi-racial son (age 6, second grade) had issues in school last year.

Lisa @ Boondock Ramblings

Maybe it is easier to color on the lighter paper.

I know...simple and stupid idea, but otherwise I'd have to admit you are right.

phd in yogurtry

This reminds me, have had several clients of Hispanic origin tell me that when a baby is born in the Latin culture, the first question asked is, "Is the baby light or dark?" Light skinned are held in high regard. Dark skinned are seen as "indian." I've worked with many dark skinned who saw themselves as the black sheep, physically and emotionally abused because of their dark skin tone.

I think with young kids, these art projects are projections of how they want to be seen.

Mom Taxi Julie

Interesting!!

Just Jamie

Jenn, this is SOOO interesting. This happens to me all of the time. In fact, I was *just* having this conversation with a colleague about one of my former (dark-skinned) students. He always chose the peach colors. And as I perused the art on the wall, he did it again! It saddens me that there is a real possibility that already children are noticing cultural/social implications of skin color.

Angie @ KEEP BELIEVING

My Grant - mixed race - always depicts himself as lighter than he really is. I don't point out his skin color one way or the other so as not to draw attention to the fact that he looks different from Gavin and me. I do, however, comment on how beautiful both of my boys are - how God created each of us so perfectly and differently. I point out our differences and try to embrace them. Tough, though. And our school is very diverse in its Asian and Middle Eastern influence. Grant does not stand out as being dark at school. He just sees himself as being lighter than he is. I often wonder if I am doing something wrong. I don't know.

Angela

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