11 Jan 2018

THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY: COOLEST MONKEY vs SURVIVAL EXPERT

The current issue about why H&M shouldn't have used a black boy to model a printed hoodie with COOLEST MONKEY IN THE JUNGLE slogan makes me revisit old posts about race relations on the blog. It fuels my passion about this issue.
My skin became a tool of derision. The girls were envious because I don’t have hairy arms. The guys and some other people out of school called me all kind of degrading names just for their own amusement. Simple words as: Kaffir, negra, imbianchino (literally translated white-washer), pipistrello (bat), mora (dark girl) and when they wanted to be friendly they called me bella moretina (beautiful little dark girl). I didn’t even know the meaning of some words until I went home to look in the dictionary. Their words made me wonder would I still be beautiful if I wasn’t mora? Am I beautiful because I am mora? Or am I beautiful because I am a beautiful girl! I always resolved that I am a beautiful girl – full stop. However, there were months I couldn’t see the glass half full. I managed to pass my exams and get out of that horrible experience. Also that experience helped me love my skin colour even more, and made me feel proud for my background and my life experience. But I don’t wish anyone to go through that period in their lives.

So, my position regarding the hm hoodie misadventure is simple: outside influences can't determine my being, my being is determined by my own foundation. So, I can only assume that the mother and the team behind the photoshoot had a laugh during the campaign shoot and didn't the historical issue about the two concoction. The only misfortune for them is that they inner joke backfired on them.

As annoying as I may sound or look in some people's eyes, I weigh every word I say to my children. Words empower them, especially words that we say as parents to them. If their root or foundation is solid then exterior factors will not easily sway their confidence.

For instance as a mother I would buy your monkey here and there t-shirt for my kid.

They subconsciously (I said this because I wasn't in their mind at the time of model search and campaign shoot) cast the wrong model for the hoodie. I'm glad that happened because on the post acclaimed blackout of the Golden Globe Awards issues like this hm printed hoodie remind many that inequality and racism are very prominent in our world.

So, let's imagine that those kids are part of two football (soccer) team and after the game they switch their hoodie, PROBLEM SOLVED!
Now the most important thing to do, as parents, it to make sure our children view themselves in a positive light. Let's encourage them to LAUGH, because THEY ARE BORN ROYAL.

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