fbpx

Posts Tagged ‘biracial kids’

We are finally getting our 2nd Black Disney Princess. A black Ariel! And this time we may actually get to see her face on the screen for more than 22 minutes (Tiana, I got you!).

When I first heard Disney was doing a live action version of The Little Mermaid I let out an exasperated sigh. Another live action remake from our childhood, can we please get a new hobby? But I’ll admit, after Aladdin, they’re bringing me back around a bit. Then, today they announced Halle Bailey as Ariel.

I read the emailed press release from my phone. “After an extensive search, it was abundantly clear that Halle [Bailey] possesses that rare combination of spirit, heart, youth, innocence, and substance — plus a glorious singing voice — all intrinsic qualities necessary to play this iconic role,” says director Rob Marshall.

I’ll admit I didn’t recognize the name when I opened the email but as soon as I saw her picture I gasped. I turned to my husband who was laying next to me and said “Look who they cast as Ariel!”

Halle Bailey cast as Disney's Ariel 2nd black Disney princess

“A young Janet Jackson?” he said. Ok, mister. You’ve got jokes!

Both of us were pleased. Actually pleased is an understatement for me. I’m THRILLED. Imagining all of the merchandise that returns when Disney does a remake. Our little girls will have little black Ariel dolls with brown skin, and you guys I’m here for it.

I distinctly remember Halloween my kindergarten year I wanted to dress up as my favorite princess: Ariel. I donned the mermaid costume, red wig and all. The stomach part was a nude color. Obviously nude isn’t the same shade for everyone. So there I was with my dark brown skin and a white midriff section. Did I care? Nope. But looking back at that now, I’m hopeful that my daughters will have more options.

Unfortunately not everyone is happy about this. Disney Family shared the announcement on Instagram this afternoon and it was met with a surprising amount of disappointed comments.

One of the top comments for instance says:

So bad disney you ruin and play like this with our childhood, if you go make an adaptation of your own movies, respect the design and ethnic origins of each character, Ariel is the princess with the unique characteristics! his red hair with its contrast of white skin and no, it is not racism, my complaint and my annoyance would be the same if when doing a live action of the princess and the frog, choose a white actress to play Tiana, it would be just as annoying.

And there are lot of comments that start “I’m not racist but…” (never a good sign) and “This diversity thing is going too far!”

I’m sorry that seeing people who don’t look like you is getting annoying. Imagine how I’VE felt my entire life! But have you seen me complaining?

First of all when has Ariel’s skin color ever been a part of the story? Oh wait, it hasn’t. Tiana is from New Orleans and in the story was put down by people because of her I quote “background.” This is not the same. Ariel is a mystical mermaid and if you ask me, the perfect Disney princess to shake things up.

I will admit the red hair is a standout feature to me and was for my daughter too.

Little biracial girl dressed up as Black Ariel Disney princess

Ariel has been one of Lil’ J’s favorite princesses (on and off, it’s hard for her to choose a favorite) for years. She dressed up as her when we went to the beach, and every time we visit Walt Disney World she’s the princess to meet. I showed her a picture of Halle Bailey and she immediately smiled. “I like her hair! She’s pretty!” She said. “Her hair is like mine. But do you think they’ll add some red braids?” Red braids or locs on Ariel really would be something. I hope it’s a consideration (and from some sneak peek stuff I’ve caught glimpses of it looks like it will be!).

Lil’ J was also concerned about her singing voice. So we did a bit of Googling and were so happy to hear Halle has the voice of an angel. Actually she sang one of our favorite songs from the movie Wrinkle in Time. We oogled at her beauty in that music video.

Little biracial girl dressed up as a Disney princess Black Ariel

I’m so thankful that Disney is taking this risk and giving the world another Disney princess of color. I’m sure over the coming months (years?) leading into its release we’ll hear complaints and grumbles but I hope that there’s more support and cheers. If you want the same pale skin, red-headed mermaid from our childhood you can watch the 1989 version. I’m ready for something new.

Production is anticipated to begin in early 2020. Let the countdown begin!

Disney's new Black Ariel is important for kids

Over the weekend I overheard my daughter talking to my youngest sister about sunscreen. (Remember she’s obsessed with the stuff?) And how even though we have brown skin, we can still burn, it just takes longer.

I tuned out their conversation for a moment while I got our pool items packed in the car.

I didn’t hear exactly what my sister was saying next, but I overheard her say “you’re just your color because you’re a little kid, but when you grow up, you’ll be darker like me.”

I didn’t have the heart to explain otherwise.

My daughter countered with her own conclusions for her lighter skin: “No no. I’m kind of pinkish like my dad, and brown like my mom, and like you! I’m like–”

“Yea yea yea,” my sister cut her off.

I called them to get into the car then told Lil’ J she was right. She’s like her mommy and daddy.

“Yea, I’m like everybody,” she said.

how-my-biracial-daughtr-identifies

This wasn’t the first time I had heard my biracial daughter say something like this. Actually, just a week or two before she came into the kitchen and professed the same thing while my husband and I had a discussion at the table.

“Mommy, I’m a little pink like daddy,” while pointing to the palms of her hands, and parts of her forearm. “And brown like you!”

She beamed with pride.

“That’s right,” I told her. “And your friends?”

“Well…” She recounted each of her friends in their various shades and said they each were like her. “So I’m like everyone.”

“Kinda like a chameleon?” I said.”

“YEA!” She answered. Excited by her realization.

“Is mommy like everyone too?” I asked.

“No,” she answered point blank. “You’re just brown, and daddy’s just pink.”

like-sisters

“But we’re all the same in other ways,” I reminded her.

In our usual fashion I related the discussion to a Disney movie… Tarzan and the conversation he had with his gorilla mom about them being the same on the inside. … But even more so human to human.

I love the way she sees herself as not only a little bit of her daddy and I, but a little bit like everyone else. I hope that is a sign of the compassion and empathy she holds for others.

I hope that it doesn’t come to this but if/when there will be days she’s called too light or too dark, I want her to remember who she is. A little girl who is part mommy, part daddy, and a little bit lilt everyone else. All while being completely authentic and uniquely herself.

How does your child see him/herself?

~Lil’ J is 4 years 11 months old.

Occasionally… VERY occasionally these days, I’ll get a hateful comment on my blog. Even less often someone will say something rude on Instagram, Twitter, or some other form of social media. After watching Jimmy Kimmel’s “Celebrities Read Mean Tweets” segment, I thought I could do my own “Blogger Reads Mean Comments” video, but I really don’t get that many anymore, and we could be waiting a while so I’m just going to tell you about this one.

Showing a white dad with a biracial son is totally normal too.

A couple of weeks ago I shared this precious photo of my husband and son on Instagram. Shortly after I got a comment from someone I don’t know that said: “Lol I don’t think he’s the dad, guess mom cheated.”

IMG_1540

My first reaction was confusion… HOW DOES HE KNOW? (Don’t ask me why I’ve assumed this person is a he, I’m not sure.)

I was so confused at how is it possible to tell that I cheated based on this photo. How in the world does it give away that information? I mean, just because a kid doesn’t look like his dad doesn’t mean he can’t look like his mom right?

Then it dawned on me… He thinks I’m white. Even if I was, that comment is no less offensive. There are such things as recessive genes and you know… And adoption. Goodness, adoptive parents I have a new respect for you!

Next, I was baffled that this person didn’t take the time to glance up at my profile picture to notice… Oh hey, his mom is black, and quite attractive, that totally explains the freakishly adorable kid.

I wasn’t ever angry, well… Maybe just upset that I didn’t think of a great comeback.

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset

When Lil’ J was younger I used to get asked quite often if she was mine. Now it seems my husband gets stopped with the questions… “Does her mom have curly hair?” or “Is his mom Hispanic?” It doesn’t bother him like it used to sometimes bother me. “People are just curious,” he tells me, so I don’t let it get to me. But I wish it wasn’t so hard for people to imagine a family like ours.

On a normal day do you know how many times I think about being in an interracial marriage? About zero. Seriously, it’s not something we think or dwell about any more than someone else ponders about their hair color differences on any given day. Sure, occasionally discussions, an encounter, or news will come up that reminds us, but it’s not nearly a constant thought in our lives.

Hopefully someday we will seem just as normal to everyone else too.

A first reaction shouldn’t be “OH DAYUM… You know he aint the baby daddy!” But “What a cute kid!” or “Genetics are awesome!” or “Oh man, his mom must be smokin hot!” … I’d be ok with any of those.

Just a couple days ago my daughter said her daddy was “blue” because the shirt he was wearing was blue. Apparently I was red because that was the color of my shirt. I was beginning to think perhaps it is true what some people claim to believe… Kids are colorblind to skin.

I’ve never honestly felt that way; that children, or people in general are colorblind to race. It’s natural to recognize someone looking different than you, or out of the ordinary. Whether it’s someone with red hair, blond hair, brown skin—whatever. We aren’t blind, and it’s ok to notice these things. But do children?

happy-little-girl-with-fall-leaves

Tonight, my daughter dropped a bomb on me: “Mom, why are you brown and I’m not?”

“What?” I looked down at my shirt, to see if that’s what she meant. But she clarified just as I was checking.

“Your skin. Why is your skin brown, and mine’s not?” She asked.

“Yours isn’t?” I thought it might be best to answer her question with questions to see where she was coming from.

“No. See?” She held up her arm for me to inspect.

“Well, who told you that?” I immediately became suspicious of kids at school. Kids at school are always bringing new things to her attention. She just started a new preschool, and maybe someone said something about us after drop off.

“Well, Daniel Tiger says…” (She broke out in a tune) “In some ways we are different, and in some ways, we are the same.”

Damn that tiger.

No really, it’s not his fault, or any fault at all. In the episode on the PBS show the differences they highlight are a kid walking using braces, and not everyone having a tail. From what I can tell, my daughter taking it to the skin color discussion was all on her own.

little-girl

“That’s right,” I said. “But what color are you?”

She wasn’t sure how to answer this either, she looked around the room, maybe for a comparison.

“Well, my kitchen is white…”

“Yes…” I said. Waiting to hear more. “Like you?” I questioned.

“No.” She said.

“Oh ok, well what’s daddy? Is he brown too?” I asked, trying to see where she was going with this.

“No, he’s yellow. Like me.” She decided.

“Oh ok,” I answered. “What about your brother?”

“He’s yellow too,” she professed. “Me, and daddy and [my brother] are yellow. And only you—“ she stopped to change her mind. “You and Snoop are brown.”

The dog and I are brown. I smiled, as I learned the workings of my preschooler’s thoughts of the world.

“Ok. And is brown pretty?” I braced herself for her answer. But I was really curious what she’d say.

“No,” she responded point blank.

“Why not?” I asked her.

“Because brown’s not my favorite color.”

“Is mommy pretty?” I asked.

“YES!” And she dove into my lap for a hug.

“Mommy?”

Oh great what now. “Yes?”

“Can we play with blocks now?”

And as quickly as that, the conversation was over.

exploring-the-world

Later, after she was tucked into bed, then came back out of her room sneaking some extra mommy time, she brought it up again while pointing to a photograph of herself against her daddy’s skin and said: “I don’t want my skin to be this color.”

This comment shocked me the most out of everything, but again, I tried to stay cool and keep with the questions, versus answers.

“Why not?” I asked her.

“Because I’m brown, and that’s not my favorite color.”

“Oh, well what color do you want to be?” Again, I braced myself for her answer.

“Purple.” She said.

I took a small sigh of relief. Apparently I’m ok with my daughter wanting to be purple. I just said “ok” (whatever kid!). It was late and she was trying to delay bedtime at this point.

“You’re beautiful the way you are.”

As I suspected all along, kids aren’t colorblind, they notice things. Though it’s not always on her mind that “mommy is brown.” For some reason it came to her mind in this moment, and was gone the next. The same thing happens with conversations with my husband. I don’t constantly think about being married to a white dude… Or even dwell on the fact that I’m black. It rarely comes up at home because we’re just mommy, daddy, wife, and husband; adorable kids… A family.

Biracial-questionsShe’s exploring and learning about the world around her, in all sorts of aspects of her little life right now. I think. I hope. No, I PRAY it’s a long time before we have a deeper skin color conversation that deals with wanting to be colors other than purple. But who knows, maybe it will never happen. And if it does (because honestly, I suspect every child, every color at some point wishes they could look like someone else) I hope… No, I pray it will be as cool, collected, and humorous as it was tonight.

Anywhere I go with my kids I notice a wave of eyes staring them down. They’re friendly onlookers enchanted by their bright eyes and bouncy curls. At least I assume that’s what strangers are drawn to. Though I really like to think it’s their sweet spirits pulling them in.

mixed kidsIt’s been about three years since the last time a stranger asked if she was mine. My mom asked me if I get that much but I think she’s grown to look a little more like me–Or perhaps I’ve got the “mom look” down now, so no one assumes otherwise.

On my way back from Atlanta this week I stood in line waiting for my Chick-fil-a. The woman behind the counter asked me about my kids.

“What are they mixed with?” She asked me.

“What?” It took a second for her question to register.

“What are your kids mixed with?” She asked again.

“Oh. White…” I said it almost like a question. I was sure, but unsure if that’s what she wanted to know.

“Oh, I thought they was somethin’ else.” She replied.

O…K…

IMG_1523-bw-copy

I chuckled off the innocent comment but walked to the plane with my two kids wondering what she thought they might have been.

I rehashed the story to my husband who told me he always gets asked the same question.

I guess when we’re all together our family makes sense. Apart, and we’re a beautiful mystery.

Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget

headshot

I'm a part-time journalist, full-time wife and mother striving to make the world a better place and inspiring others to do the same. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day.

My Photography Course

My Photography Course

Featured Posts

diy-onsie-cardigan-tutorial

adventures-in-homeschooling

30-things-my-kids-should-know-about-me

Aurora-tutu-dress-tutorial-3

kid-movie-reviews

disney-family-travel

photo-backup-tutorial


as-seen-on-button
I’m a 2017 Iris Awards Winner

watch @jenniferborget on

Inspiring Moments Positive Parenting Spreading Joy
How My Husband Inspires Me to Give Back
Here’s a Fun Way to Get Your Kids to Brush Their Teeth
I’ve Been Trying to Drink More Water for Years and Now I Finally Am
Family Travel Food & Culture Homeschooling
Here’s What’s New at Toy Story Land
From Homeschool to Public School – We Made It!
Tips for visiting Walt Disney World with an Infant, a happy baby riding a Walt Disney World ride.
Don’t Wait to Take Your Infant to Walt Disney World
Creating With Kids (DIY) Disney Motherhood Pregnancy & Baby
5 Reasons to Take Your Kids to a Farmers Market
Biracial baby girl eating a birthday cupcake
You’re ONE! A Love Letter to Lee Lee
Better Late Then Never: What My Kids thought of Disney’s New Dumbo
Interracial Marriage Multiracial Parenting Our Family History Photography & Videos
This is How We Saved for Our Dream House
Ariel is Black and People are MAD but Here’s Why We are Here for it!
Mother and daughter Disney bound Dumbo as Timothy Mama Jumbo and Dumbo
Why I Let My Kids Watch Dumbo Even Though it’s Pretty Racist