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Aisha Ali, who is the DC Youth Issues Examiner for Examiner.com, asks “Should schools be forced to include diversity curricula?”

While attending school, I either witnessed or experienced racial/ethnic and gender inequalities. However, those witnessed or experienced while undergoing my primary education, were most damaging. During primary education, children form ideas about themselves, their environment, and the persons who occupy them. Throughout secondary education, youths begin to affirm those previously-held notions learned. Although many fail to realize this, social roles are learned during early developmental stages, particularly from parents and teachers. If a child has been indoctrinated with prejudices during primary education, the seeds of discrimination already have been deeply rooted.

By the time I had reached college, and “diversity” and “gender” classes were offered, but only placed as electives for interested students seeking answers to why prejudice exists, it was already too late for some students to broaden their narrow-minded views regarding “different” people, social change, and diversity. Most students opting to take such classes were not the ones in desperate need of them, but more so those who either held or wished to obtain a diversified view of the world. Prejudiced individuals were not overwhelmingly present in diversity classes. Unfortunately, when they were present, it was to tell “minorities,” who were the majority in such classes, how much “they whine and complain,” rather than to develop a new world perspective. Of course, there were some exceptions, who first appeared close-minded, but had used their attacks against certain groups in fear of losing the only beliefs they had ever held. Read more…

…and “Should children be taken away from racist parents?”

 Reader Erin L. sent this link to a Boston Globe article about infant modeling:

So what are agencies looking for in a baby model? Ayers says successful baby models are smilers with good temperaments who’re willing to interact with photographers, hair stylists, and makeup artists. Yes, babies do get hair and makeup: At a Hasbro shoot, a makeup artist covered a spot on Abigail’s face while a hair stylist fixed her hair, says Hanna.

“It’s almost like if you see something you know it,” says Freeman. “For a baby, pretty much you’re looking for that cuteness. I hate using the term, but that all-American look. That baby with a wholesome look.” (Emphasis mine) Read more…

The phrase “All-American looks” always sets off alarm bells for me. But more disturbing is the accompanying video that seems to fetishize mixed-race babies. Erin says: I’ve heard about mixed-race models being coveted for their appeal to diverse groups, but it seems that  fetish even extends
to baby models.  This article was an odd juxtaposition of touting the “all-American look” in the text, and a  video that  focused on mixed babies, breaking down the look of a mixed-race baby into her “Korean eyes” and “African-American nose.”  I’m sure multiracial couples are no different from other parents who just want to see their cute kids on a magazine cover, but as a mixed person myself, it was unnerving to hear the agent typecast a baby along distinct racial lines.”

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About Tami

Tami Winfrey Harris writes about race, feminism, politics and pop culture at the blog What Tami Said. Her work has also appeared online at The Guardian’s Comment is Free, Ms. Magazine blog, Newsweek, Change.org, Huffington Post and Racialicious. She is a graduate of the Iowa State University Greenlee School of Journalism. She is mom to two awesome stepkids and spends her spare time researching her family history and cultivating a righteous 'fro.
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