My family, musings and life in the turtle pond

Posts tagged ‘open discussion’

Progress with dolls

Today I was looking through a Kaplan catalog during break.I ended up looking at the dolls, because something caught my eye. It was the Native American dolls! Yes, realistic Native American dolls, a boy and a girl. They are not dressed in the stereotypical outfits with feathers and leather dresses. They were wearing the same pants and shirts as the other dolls.(Asian,Hispanic, Caucasian and African-American.) It made me feel so good! I haven’t ever seen a doll like me. Well, not entirely like me, since I pass for white, but like my daughter.I think its progress to have a Native American doll that any little girl(or little boy for that matter) can have access too. A doll dressed like every other  doll takes away the whole Native American Myth and shows that we are just like anyone else and dress the same as anyone else when we aren’t in a  ceremony.

Today’s questions:

  1. Have you ever thought about the Native American dolls in Toy Catalogs and used in classrooms.
  2. Would you (if you were a teacher) include these Native American dolls.
  3. Why don’t other school supply companies have those Native American dolls?
  4. What other Native American toys could be included?
  5. Are there other minority dolls that are not included?
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I don’t fit in pretty boxes!

I hate paperwork. And yes, I do mean hate, even though that’s a very strong word. I don’t like it because of the boxes that I have to fit into. I never know which ones to fill in in most cases. Sometimes I have to pick the closest answer. Why do we have to categorize ourselves into boxes for other people? Do others really need to know every detail of what they think we are?

For a start, race/ethnic background. Race in and of itself is a made up term, since we are all human. Then there is the ethnic background. I come from one that doesn’t exist. After all, there is no group of Native Americans. There are 450+ different nations who co-exist within the United States.

So now we move on to sex/gender. there are always two choices, Male and Female. But that doesn’t cover a fairly large number of people who are genetically both. Nor does it take into consideration people who “gender flip” depending on the situation. And of course, this leads to “married, single, divorced” . Sometimes none of the above apply. And other options don’t always fit in either.

From there we move to Housing. Rent or own?  Or the other options, like Living in nursing home,halfway house or community center, or homeless, living in a hotel,car, shelter or friend’s couches.

And the lists go on and on! And the boxes get more and more ambiguous. trying harder and harder to pinpoint exactly what the person answering is.

That is the true problem. Most people aren’t just one thing. They don’t fit neatly into little boxes. More and more of us have problems with identifying all the mixes we have. Mixed-race really doesn’t cover it. And they NEVER provide all the possible combinations of mix we are. Bi-racial doesn’t work for people with three or more “races”. Sometimes it’s just easier to pick the race you look the most like and claim that. Other times there are a few groups that come close.

This is why I develop a sense of humor about it. If its a fill in the blank option I will sometimes develop a sarcasting sense of humor and actually put human on the form. Or I’ll put the term I think apply to me most. Border lander.   A border lander is a person on the outskirts. They are part of more than one group,standing on the border,where they have a foot on either side, so to speak. Border landers don’t fit in any group really. None of their sides may truly accept them. And they need to survive caught between catagories, and literally outside the boxes.

Menu discussion at the cafe

The other day I was eating lunch at a cafe I go to a lot. There were two people at the table next to me discussing the menu. But they weren’t talking about the food. The guy was saying “why do they have to put it in your faces.” The Lady responded  with, “It’s not appropriate to shove you’re lifestyle at people.”n

Right away, my ears perked up. I hear comments like this  more times than I’d ever care to. So I did what I usually do. Asked them exactly what they meant, but having a rebuttal to whatever Anti-LGBT comment I expected. Except that’s not what I got.

“The menu. Look at it.It’s disgusting.”

So I looked. Now I’ve been to this cafe many times,but never really paid attention to it. It has a shirtless man with pants that are cut way to low and showing way too much standing next to a rainbow flag. And His pants line and belly button were eye level with either toddlers or kids in strollers.

She was right. It wasn’t appropriate. At least I don’t think it was. while adults wait for their coffee or stand in line, the kids can stare at this picture. I’m not sure that I would want to explain it to my three year old, and we live in an LGBTQ family.I can only imagine what its like for parents that aren’t.

So the three of us started talking. we decided that it really isn’t appropriate to have any guy on a menu posted that low, in bright colors where kids see it all the time. We also got into a discussion about how the LGBTQ community seems to be at odds with itself. On one hand, the ones of us who are trying to raise families and have the same rights as others are trying to prove we’re just like everyone else. Then there are the guys that seem to go out of their way to prove the stereotypes.

In the end, we decided that it was good that we had a dialogue instead of a shouting match, the way it so easily could have turned out. We all talked to the manager about it too. I told him that I had no problem with Pride, I just didn’t want to be represented by an R rated menu. He listened. Last week, there was a new menu with just the flag. and that menu had been moved to a place over the deli, where Its not in children’s faces. I also have some new people I talk to at the coffee shop.=)

So here’s the dialogue questions: Was the menu appropriate? Would you have said anything? would you have even talked to other people in the shop, who were complaining about the menu?did the manager do the right thing?

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