This past semester I learned about automaticity which basically is the automatic reactions we have. We discussed studies, experiences, and textual analysis. One that stood out to me was a study that documented human reactions to videos. There was a more visible response to a white hand being stuck with a needle compared to a black hand. The automatic biases stemming from institutional and systemic racism is astounding and horrifying. If you want to learn about the biases you may not know you have, take this quiz (Project Implicit). In class we discussed how we can change the automatic reactions towards minorities and the lack of black lead characters in movies, books, etc was really brought to my attention. I went home after the lesson and noticed that every book I had for my daughter (which is A LOT) have lead white characters or animals. I’m baffled how difficult it has been for me to find children’s books with lead minority characters or books that are mostly comprised of non whites. Turns out, I had to search “activist children’s books” to get what I wanted. My favorites are:
I plan to mindfully and continuously expand my daughters collection of books to include characters of other races.
Also can I just say I’m so happy about the movie Hidden Figures. A movie that stars three black women who don’t play passive roles, salves, or maids. We need more books and movies embracing strong minority characters, and I think a great way to accomplish that is by ensuring our young ones see inclusiveness and diversity among media as a normality.
If you’re a parent, consider exposing your child to books and movies with all kinds of lead races, ethnicity and religions. Also support minority artists, authors and businesses!