Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Big Book



Amusing look at White supremacism and sexism as experienced by the Black heroine of the title.

In keeping with the concept and practice of the extended family, the girl’s mother is angered when told her schoolmates have said she cannot be Peter Pan - in the school pantomime - because she is both female and Black.

But her Nana takes the wider view of ethnic-identity formation in her grand-daughter and demonstrates the White inconsistency-with-reality in making it a tradition in Anglo-White pantomimes that the principal boy is played by a woman; as well as the fact that Peter Pan - who never existed - is not described as being a member of any ethnic group such that his skin color is irrelevant to the ideas expressed in the play.

Nana shows Grace the example of a Black dancer as Juliet (in the ballet: Romeo & Juliet) as proof that you can be anything you want - despite the ignorance of others - given the right motivation.

Grace is shown as a resourceful child full of youthful curiosity about the world and herself - with a rich imagination. Like Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters, Blackness is not shown as something odd or fearful, but as a norm that is as valid as any other - with illustrations that accurately depict youthful exuberance.

A very useful resource for Black parents to undermine the inherent Whiteness of Western culture in its claim that skin color and gender are destiny - socially-limited ones.

Racial-identity role-modeling never came so sweet and is packaged in an easily-accessible form that will not overwhelm its Black-child audience with overt and strident politics.

Copyright © 2012 Frank TALKER. Permission granted to reproduce and distribute it in any format; provided that mention of the author’s Weblog (http://whitespeak.blogspot.com/) is included: E-mail notification requested. All other rights reserved.

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