Balanced Melting Pot

Archive for January, 2009|Monthly archive page

Beauty in Our Eyes

In African Americans, Culture, Parenting, Race Relations, Self Image on January 26, 2009 at 11:20 am

Although I am known to point out the many differences between immigrants of African descent and African-Americans, I know that there are also many similarities that link the two groups; most good and some not so good.

One of which is the prejudice between light and darker blacks that has created distorted image perceptions and class divisions among black people around the world. Recently, I was reading about Chris Rock’s new documentary Good Hair that premiered at the Sundance Festival this month. The title alone made me cringe. I immediately thought of using that phrase as a child, both in English and Haitian Creole, to describe hair on a black person that more closely resembled that of a Caucasian.

Somehow, somewhere along the way (I say that facetiously), we adopted that notion that anything resembling Caucasians was good and passed on this incorrect notion from generation to generation. I wrote a paper about this in college and was actually surprised to learn that it wasn’t restricted to black cultures; Asians and Latin Americans share this distortion of self-image, as well.

In any case, it is very difficult in this society to teach minority children about positive self-image, but I think it’s crucial in order to change what I think is culturally destructive. I had to consciously work to change my knee-jerk reactions to seeing people like Alek Wek or Susan Taylor and start seeing beauty differently.

What are your thoughts about this issue? How would you start changing the perception of beauty for the younger generations? 

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A day of reflection…

In Culture, Questions, Thoughts on January 20, 2009 at 1:58 pm

As we watched the son of an immigrant become the United States’ 44th President, I think back to all the difficult situations that we, or our parents, have had to overcome.

For all those times people assumed that I was a refugee (because all immigrants are), grew up in slums (again, because all immigrants did), was a single parent (since all black women are) or that I was an anomaly because I spoke English clearly – I was only pushed me to keep striving to be the person my parents worked for me to be; one who was not limited by ethnicity or gender.

In recognition that my struggles are much fewer than those of my parents, I also hope that those of my children will be greatly diminished; if not nonexistent.

What are some difficult situations that you made you stronger as a person?


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My first MEME

In Culture, Parenting, Questions on January 12, 2009 at 10:35 am

For those of you who aren’t in the “know” :-P, the Daily Meme has a good explanation of this term.

My MEME of choice is: Five things I want my children to know before they grow up. They are:

1) Love: You are very loved. Hence, you should never be afraid to love freely.

2) Happiness: Enjoy the small wonders in life.

3) Respect: Never let anyone treat you with less respect than you deserve. Be respectful of others – it will always be seen as a sign of strength.

4) Compassion: You have the power to create an environment that is caring and accepting. You can’t change people, but you can make a conscious decision to keep good company.

5) Success: Life is what you make of it – the sky’s the limit. But reaching the sky is very difficult unless you keep acquiring knowledge.

What are your five?

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