Crayola Doesn’t Make That One

I logged into MySpace today to find that they had begun listing AMBER Alerts on user home pages upon login. I took a look at the listing and noticed something.

Skin Color: Hispanic

We're a society that needs to categorize everything into easily digestible bits. Perhaps this is just one of our human characteristics. But the last time I checked, "Hispanic" wasn't a color. There is no listing for race under this child's description, and I suppose they would have put Hispanic under that listing had there been one. That wouldn't have been right either, as Hispanic is not a race, but an ethnic category.

Our skin colors range from the palest to the darkest. We may be of any race. This is something that I'm still amazed some people don't know. We are not all a certain stereotypical shade of brown. We are White, Black, Asian, and anything else under the sun. There is no one "Hispanic" skin color. It isn't a color to begin with. I wasn't sure if the designation there on the alert was a product of confusion or simple ignorance.

While I applaud the growing
inclusion of Latinos in the American collective awareness, there's
obviously still a great distance to go. Most people's images of us don't necessarily mesh with the reality of just how diverse a group we truly are. On television, we are either Ugly Betty or Dora the Explorer. What about someone like Edith González? Sammy Sosa? The range of Latino faces is so vast and rich.

The reason this got me to thinking was partly because it concerns a missing child. "Skin color:Hispanic" doesn't give a clue to what this child looks like. Who am I looking for? Is he light like me? Dark like Sammy Sosa? It's in the authorities' interest to get it right because it might help us find these kids with more accurate information.

The decrease in cultural ignorance would simply be a bonus.

Diversity in Dolls

I'm sick. Have been for days. So just a brief update based on a press release I just read.

When the rollout is completed next week, Kmart stores will sell nearly
four dozen types of ethnic dolls — a nearly fourfold increase from
what's currently available. The dolls are flanked by an advertising
campaign in the store's circulars and designed to appeal to black,
Hispanic and Asian parents.

Personally, I wonder if by "Hispanic" doll, they mean one that tries to copy Dora the Explorer and be a stereotypical brown/dark brown/dark brown representation of us, or if there will be variety in what is represented. We're a very diverse group, and it would be nice to see that reflected in the types of dolls sold. Little Latina dolls with green eyes or light skin, blue eyes, or really dark skin, blonde hair, as well as dark brown or black eyes and hair would be a progressive step in truly representing us. I have dark brown eyes and hair, but there are still lots of Latinos with different color combinations, and those who don't fit the brown/brown/brown mold often feel on the fringe or are looked at askance. I recall going to join a Latino organization in college, and being told I "didn't have to be Latina to join". We're a mixed population, and unique in that we can pretty much have any color combination.

Hopefully, Kmart and other manufacturers don't forget that in their vision.