Is my toddler racist?
My toddler is obsessed with the music video for ‘Cups’, that Anna Kendrick song from Pitch Perfect. Her favourite part is at 2:54.
“It’s Daddy!” she yells, pointing.
Here are the ways that the guy she’s pointing looks different from my husband:
- He’s at least 50lbs heavier
- He’s not wearing glasses
- He doesn’t have a beard
- He’s wearing a straw hat
So pretty much all the ways, really.
Here are the ways that the guy she’s pointing at looks similar to my husband:
- He’s a brown dude
Look, I know she has no concept of race yet. She’s only two. She barely has any concept of anything yet. But there’s still something a bit cringy about the possibility that she thinks all Latin guys look the same. I mean, if I pointed at every vaguely ethnic guy I saw and claimed he looked like my husband, it would be super racist. What she’s doing isn’t quite the same thing, but that the little liberal voice in my head goes, “Yikes” every time she points out ‘Daddy’ on TV.
It’s not like my daughter’s growing up in Whitey McWhitesville over here. Glasgow is made up of 21% ethnic minorities, and our neighbourhood itself has a decently-sized Asian population. If we stay here, she’ll grow up seeing people from different backgrounds every day. And that’s important – apparently white people become less racist just by moving to diverse areas.
Plus, she’s a minority herself. Not a visible one – she’s as pale as any Scottish kid – but she’s half American (White Other, according to the Scottish census) and half Puerto Rican. I often wonder if she’ll embrace her heritage as she gets older, or if she’ll be really embarrassed by her parents with the weird accents who refuse to put milk in their tea and don’t get Doctor Who.
I’m probably reading way too much into this race thing. After all, just today we were walking down the street when she pointed at a very overweight woman in a black and white floral dress and said, “Just like Mummy!”
“Umm, how is she like Mummy?” I asked.
“JUST LIKE MUMMY!” she yelled, like it was obvious.
Was it because this woman also had brown hair? Or because she was wearing sunglasses and I also very occasionally wear sunglasses? Or was it because she was also a woman in her 30s, and the Popple assumes that all women of a certain age are mummies?
My husband and I are the most important people in our daughter’s life, so it’s only natural that she would see us everywhere. And if it makes her happy to think that Daddy is making music with cups in a diner with Anna Kendrick, then…well, who am I to tell her otherwise?