little girls playing in makeup

MyBrownBaby Fresh links to stories I found interesting this week…

Why Do People Get Upset When Little Girls Play In Makeup?
Melanie Martin for BeautifullyBrown.com
We’ve heard people say time after time, when seeing a little girl do these things, that she’s acting “grown”, or “fresh” or mention how she’s too young for the makeup obsession to begin. And while I can respect each parent’s preference for their own child as a childless young woman, I can’t completely agree with the preference to stunt a part of girlhood they may naturally be into. If my grandma had gotten on me about playing in her makeup, instead of teaching me about it, I may not be the proud, confident woman I am today. And that confidence isn’t from makeup and beauty alone, but from the free flourishing I was offered as a little girl to embrace all parts of being a girl, including beauty and makeup. It’s part of the reason Beautifully Brown is here.

I’m a White Mom With Biracial Children, and What I Do With Their Hair Is No One’s Business
Maria Guido for TheRoot.com
There are deeper implications to both of these responses, which is probably why they bother me so much. For the former, the implication is that mixed-race children are some kind of novelty, as if it’s not 2015 and people of different races aren’t falling in love and having children together all the time. Births of mixed-race babies have been steadily increasing for years. For the latter, the implication is that I don’t understand how to do my black baby’s hair because I am a white woman—so clearly I need help. It assumes ignorance, rather than a choice that my partner and I have made together. How do I respond to either of these situations without looking like a jerk? Do I tell the mother at the park not to touch my kid’s “amazing” hair? Do I tell the woman threatening to “snatch up” my kid and braid his hair to mind her own business? I’ve never given another mother unsolicited opinions regarding her kid’s appearance or attempted to touch a stranger’s child. These are boundaries that shouldn’t be so easily crossed.

“What was going through your head when you first saw me?”
Aiden Sykes for StoryCorps
StoryCorps is probably the only place you’ll hear a 9-year-old conduct an interview on a national radio program. That’s what happened when a fourth grader named Aidan Sykes sat down with his father, 31-year-old Albert Sykes, who runs an education nonprofit and mentors kids who are struggling in school. At a StoryCorps mobile booth in Jackson, Mississippi, Aidan asked all the questions.

Family Secret And Cultural Identity Revealed In ‘Little White Lie’
Michelle Norris for NPR’s Code Switch
“As it turned out, hanging out with black people put a lot of my insecurities to rest. My black friends looked at me and saw another black person,” she says. “Feeling like an outsider was something they could relate to. For the first time in my life, I felt like I belonged. And somehow I just knew that black was who I was.” The film goes on to chronicle a series of conversations, sometimes painful confrontations, with her mother, friends, schoolmates and family. The journey has Schwartz embracing the truth about her real identity and what it means for her as a woman who now identifies as being black, when she once identified as white.

If These Two Teenagers Ran The World, We’d All Jump For Joy
Diane Cole for NPR
Listen to Memory Banda, 18, from Malawi and 16-year old Achie (whose last name is not provided because of her age) from Ethiopia, and you’ll hear an earful about a lot of things you wouldn’t expect. They’re talking about how tough it is to be young and female in Africa. They’re discussing how child marriage and female genital mutilation are just two of the obstacles to girls getting an education. They’re commiserating about the challenge of getting health care and of finding jobs that will let them lead a better life. But they’re not just griping. Memory and Achie each push for change in their communities.

No Place for Self-Pity, No Room for Fear
Toni Morrison for The Nation
This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal. I know the world is bruised and bleeding, and though it is important not to ignore its pain, it is also critical to refuse to succumb to its malevolence. Like failure, chaos contains information that can lead to knowledge—even wisdom. Like art.

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Denene Millner

Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.

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