“It” being a commercial. A misinterpreted quote. An advertisement. A product. A political platform. Or just a really bad joke. It’s as if we keep our Race Card neatly nestled in our wallet, right next to our driver’s license and Visa, ready to pull it out at a moment’s notice.
Sure there are times when we must speak up and defend a blatant attack against our race. You’ve seen the Nivea ad that suggests we “Re-civilize [ourselves]”. Or the selling of the “nigger” bag by eBay. In fact, just last week singer Kelis was called a “slave” in a UK airport. To that – I say hold onto that race card tighter than Lil’ Wayne’s jeggings.
But other times, it’s just not worth it– or validated.
I present to you a quick story.
Recently, “American Girl” released an African-American doll, second to Addy. Cécile Rey is “a bold, confident girl from a well-to-do African-American family.” To accompany her is another AG doll, her friend Marie-Grace Gardner. She is white. I was proud of the progression and new route the company had taken. Yet as I read different comments about Cécile on other sites, I was disheartened.
“Why does she need a white friend? Her being black isn’t enough??”
“Her hair is straight and her eyes are light…#FAIL!!! Might as well make her a white girl.”
“Where da afro?”
As much as I loathe poor grammar, there was a bigger issue at hand. Was it not enough to see that AG was diversifying its product, teaching thousands of girls another side of Black America? Or providing a pivotal history lesson through the usage of dolls and books (Cécile is out of the 1850s during the yellow fever outbreak in New Orleans)? No, she was attacked for not being “Black” enough. For being the Mammy to Marie-Grace Gardner’s Scarlett O’Hara.