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Racial stereotypes in a children's book?

One of little Tae's favorite board books is Good Night Boston. Her mother begins to wonder about the portrayal of kids in it:

... [T]he asian kids are raising their hands. so is the kid with glasses. and so is the kid in the wheel chair. but that's IT. the other kids of color aren't raising their hands. is this the beginning of the model minority stereotype? in a board book?

and, um, what about the eyes? ...

Free tagging: 



Uh, the little blond girl raises her hand, too.

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...the aforementioned girl using a wheelchair, or the aforementioned girl with glasses?


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I looked at the hand-raising picture. Then I read the complaint. Then I looked at the hand-raising picture. Then I read the complaint again. Then I looked at the hand-raising picture. Then I read the complaint again.

Pray tell, where's the racial stereotyping in that picture? The bloggin' mom may have a point about the single-line eyes on the asian students, and their inclusion (or lack thereof) in other pictures, but I can't find a single piece of symbolism in the hand-raising picture that is depicting any group -- racial or otherwise -- in a negative light.

And really, how does not raising one's hand in a group picture equate with model minority stereotypes? What does raising the hand MEAN in this picture? And why aren't the other kids doing it? Let's put on our Imagination Helmets and realize that oh gasp, there's prejudice inherent in EVERY depiction!

The baseball-capped kid on the left? He's not raising his hand because he's carrying a big bag full of books. He's obviously ashamed of his family, his neighborhood, and the stereotype of urban blacks being lazy, ignorant, and prone to violence. In retaliation, he vows to further his studies and ensure a better life for himself and his family. However, he'll be branded a race traitor, just you wait and see.

The kid with the B on his shirt is not raising his hand because he's distracted by the falling leaves. This is obviously a negative jab at children with attention deficit disorder.

The redheaded white girl in the back is not raising her hand because she's busy talking to her friend in the yellow shirt, who is making some kind of emphatic gesture in agreement. This is clearly a pointed statement that girls in our modern society are too shallow and pre-occupied with themselves to take notice of the world around them. They're probably talking about clothes or materialism or the color pink.

Kid in the blue with the funky hair on the far left? Mental disability, possibly Asperger's, and he cannot pick up on social cues -- in this case, the book's narrator greeting the group of students. Ha, ha, make fun of him too, and his silly face, which he cannot help but make due to the neural disorder.

And the kid in red in the back HAS no hands to raise. How dare you castigate him for not raising one.

I can easily see how a two-year-old child would form strong negative opinions of these depictions based solely on this drawing. The students in this picture should have all just been blond-haired, blue-eyed Caucasians so as to eliminate any potential negative stereotyping.

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