GUEST POST: ‘Ignorance is NOT Bliss’, by Samantha Aborowa

 

So I’m finally back blogging. Eek! I haven’t blogged for a few years now. Lots has happened and I just haven’t felt ready, but thanks to some persuasion from a wonderful mum-mate, Musing Mum, I’m getting back into it thanks to her guest blog spot.

I feel compelled to share with you a recent experience where my eyes were opened to just how ignorant some people can be towards the world around them. Twice in one day I encountered prejudice towards people like me with children of colour, without even setting foot out of my front door.

Whilst watching This Morning, Jamelia had a slot talking about toys being aimed at white people; more white dolls on display in toy shops and very few ethnic dolls. In Toys R Us only SIX dolls were available that weren’t white. Disappointingly, there were even less in Smyth’s and The Entertainer toy shops.

The viewer comments were astounding: “These black people are just being racist to white people”, “Even toys can’t escape constant race and ethnicity scrutiny” and “Jamelia is inventing problems”. All these comments were made by white people who were completely missing the point she was making.

Thankfully another tweeted, “These comments highlight how ignorant white people can be to issues among POC [people of colour] as these are issues that will never affect them.” And that is the point Jamelia is making by highlighting the lack of representation in toy shops.

People can be so ignorant towards others who are different to what they consider to be the ‘norm’. I want my daughter to go into a toy store and find a doll similar to her amongst the others, and be able to play with white, black, Asian, Indian, Latinx dolls…why wouldn’t I? I want her to know that not everyone is white and the black doll isn’t special because it is rare to come by. It should be normal to pick up a doll of any colour to play with.

You may think I’m making an issue out of nothing, but as a white mother bringing up a daughter with Nigerian heritage, I feel I need to be prepared with answers I don’t yet have to her questions about her skin type, hair difference and culture background. Sadly, I feel I have to prepare my child for discriminatory comments that will come in her life, to be ready for that nasty kid.

Later in the day, I was looking at blogs and youtube videos on tips of how to care for my daughter’s hair. It’s not like mine and I know I need to care for it differently. I found some really helpful blogs with great tips but I also came across a blog I found quite patronising to “the white mother with a biracial child”. It basically outlined her ‘beef’ of how some white mothers don’t look after their biracial child’s hair and leave their hair looking unkempt in afros and a halo of frizz.

Now being a first time mum is hard enough without the added pressure of having to deal with a hair type that you have never dealt with before that needs alot of work and attention. My daughter is only 17 months old and I’m on a massive learning curve. I’m not perfect in the slightest and I have a long way to go, but I’d like to think that I’m not doing too badly. It’s just annoying that people can be so judgemental about why a kid’s hair doesn’t look ‘perfectly groomed’.

Maybe the particular day that the kid’s hair was unkempt, was the same day the kid had a total breakdown in the bath and wouldn’t let a parent anywhere near their head to wash, condition, detangle and spend 3 hours making it look perfect, so the parents just had to make do.

Life is not always rosy and pristine. I may not get my daughter’s hair perfect and it may be a bit frizzy where I didn’t put enough moisture in it that day, but its a learning curve and I – and every parent in my position – could do with support not criticism.

My daughter is more important than being classed as ‘different from norm’. I will bring her up to be kind, open minded and have a diverse way of thinking, to let her see no one person is the same and everyone is unique.

One thought on “GUEST POST: ‘Ignorance is NOT Bliss’, by Samantha Aborowa

  1. Great post! I really enjoyed reading this, thanks for sharing. Cultural awareness for young children as well as adults is so important, but there will always be small minded people from all cultures and backgrounds. Well done for sharing something positive!

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