PopCulturalist, PostRacialist

On Little Black Girls, Beauty and Barbie Dolls

Ryan Booth, “Harlem’s Flyest Toddler,” submitted by someone who loves her dearly.In my effort to show the world how beautiful black and brown children are (and that Sasha and Malia aren’t the unicorns of black children that Madison Avenue is making them out to be), I’ve received more than 40 emails from happy friends, relatives and parents all wanting to be part of The Black Snob’s efforts to show the true beauty of our daughters.

Because that’s what this is really about for me.

For some background on why this issue really stuck in my craw and the statement that sent me over the edge, click here. But I want to give you some background as to why I feel so strongly and as to what I plan to do with your beautiful girls.

Along time ago at a kitchen table in an all-black, middle/working class neighborhood in St. Louis, Mo.’s North County a young Danielle Belton, age five, loved to draw and color more than anything in the world. My older sister, aka “Big Sis, bka Denise, didn’t like to color, so I inherited all the coloring books she never used.

I could draw for hours and color for hours, but all I drew and colored were white people.

I would take out my Barbie coloring book and select the yellow crayon for her hair, the blue crayon for her eyes and the pink “flesh” colored crayon for her skin. I would make her “beautiful” in what my little noggin thought was beauty.

What’s funny is my parents, like many black parents, were trying their hardest to make sure myself and my sister had positive images of other black women and ourselves. My mother constantly fought with the toy store owners about getting in more black dolls because she wanted to buy me Barbies, but worried about how having a gaggle of blonde Malibu and ballerina Barbies could effect my young mind. She immersed us in our culture. She told us we were beautiful all the time.

Yet I still drew and colored nothing but white people.

Then one day, at that kitchen table, my father approached me. Rather than go into a lengthy speech or be embarrassed or shame me, he approached me as you would approach a five year old.

He asked if he could color with me.

I, of course, was pleased that he wanted to join in. My father worked in management for McDonnell Douglass at the time. He was almost always busy at work or winding down from stress. Plus, he was the sole wage earner in the household, hence we didn’t get to spend as much time together. I loved playing with my father. I never turned the man down if he was in the mood.

So he took one Barbie page and I took mine. I, quite proudly, made my Barbie look just like the one on the cover, blonde and blue-eyed. Then I looked over at daddy who was coloring his own Barbie but he had done something entirely unexpected to me. He’d taken the brown crayon and made her skin brown. He’d taken the black crayon and gave her beautiful dark hair. He showed his finished picture to me and said sweetly, “Don’t you think she’s pretty too?”

This was my first “mind-blown” experience. At five it had never occurred to me that I could make Barbie or any drawing anything I wanted it to be. I was following “the rules.” Barbies were white. Beautiful people were white. I had never occurred to me that I could “break the rules.” I looked at my dad’s coloring and thought that was the most beautiful Barbie in the world.

I never colored a white Barbie again. I wanted them to be all as beautiful as the one my father had made.

He didn’t have to lecture. He didn’t have to get mad. He understood that I just needed my eyes to open to the possibility.

Years later I would do the same thing for my baby sister Deidre, seeing her do the same thing I did as a little kid, coloring all the people white. I showed her my black drawings and she too agreed, the black Barbies were beautiful too.

Whether we realize it or not, no matter how hard we try, the world is sending a message to our children: You are not good enough. You are not pretty enough. You are not wanted.

This is told to Asian girls about their eyes. To Latinas about their brown skin and dark hair. Told to anyone with a permanent tan and a flat nose.

And it’s told to us.

We see it and hear it all the time. I went to a great elementary school with great teachers, yet I had a principal who seemed to relish in telling us how awful we were. I had a third grade teacher once tell our class we should be proud we were brought here as slaves from Africa because people in Africa were starving and poor. (My mother had a few words with that teacher and she later apologized to the class.) My mother did find us black dolls that we loved. My mother continued to tell us we were beautiful as we were. And it was an all-day, everyday struggle when every image in magazines, on TV, at school and even from other children is telling you — not good enough.

All three Belton Sisters (left to right) Danielle, Denise and Deidre

From being in elementary school and hearing other little black girls my age fantasize about marrying white men to have “pretty babies,” to being a freshman in high school and having a jealous friend berate me for having “thick lips.”

Of course by then, all my parents’ hard work had not been in vain. When someone criticized my thick lips I blinked at them like they were insane. I knew my lips were beautiful. I knew some woman in Hollywood was lying on a plastic surgeon’s table getting injections to get what God gave me naturally. How could it be ugly if people were paying for it?

I was sensitive about being called a nerd (although that never stopped me from being nerdy) and sensitive about having such a big ass (but that had more to do with not liking negative male attention from perverts), but when it came to my large nose, thick lips, big eyes and undeniable black features I knew I was the shit and everyone else was wrong.

That’s why you have to wage a war from the time your son or daughter crawls out of the crib to get them to where my parents got me. You have to show them over and over images of our beauty. My mother bought us the book “When and Where I Enter” and “I Dream A World.” I read “The Color Complex” as a teen. We had regular study sessions over the works of Jawanza Kunjufu. She even dragged us to his one film, “Up Against the Wall.”

She told us over her pride in having an “African nose” when people mocked her flat, wide nose. She encouraged us in music and dance and art, surrounding us with as much good energy as she could. Because it was her versus the world, a world that wanted us to believe we were not beloved or lovely.

Our father took thousands of pictures of us. My grandfather introduced us all as his “pretty, smart granddaughters from St. Louis.” And no matter how bad a day I had at school I would look in the mirror with tears in my eyes and see myself as beautiful and tell the world it was crazy if it couldn’t see what I saw.

I was lucky, but I can’t say other black women were. And even with all my mother’s work, I still had complexes over my hair, dealt with other people’s complexes because it’s hard to block out that message that says you’re wrong.

So now we have the beautiful First Daughters, two girls who remind me of my sisters and myself. Of my cousins and elementary school friends and to hear someone talk like Sasha and Malia are some rarity, two lovely black girls, as if they were some anomaly you can’t find, enraged me.

Here finally, finally an image little black children could see and go “that’s me!” They could see everyone complimenting their beauty and feeling proud knowing they shared in that beauty. But then this statement was made by Marlene Wallach, president of Wilhelmina Kids & Teens, was like a kick in the teeth.

(T)he First Daughters are tough subjects to match. “It’s a very specific age and a very specific ethnicity, so there aren’t that many girls that would necessarily fit the bill.”

I wondered if I was making too much of it, but then remembered five year old me coloring those pages and pages of white women and thinking every white woman I saw was the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen simply because she was white. I remember once arguing down to my mother that I DID have blue eyes, fixated on a slender, non-existent blue ring around my dark, dark brown eyes. Then to cry, reading Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye” nearly 15 years later and finding that Pecola Breedlove was inside of me and just about every black woman I knew, even if they fought that negativity every day. And when I framed it that way I knew I wasn’t over-reacting. I was taking a stand.

Enough is enough. Light or dark. Long hair or short. Curly or straight. I’d seen many beautiful little black girls in my lifetime, yet they were growing up just like I had, watching MTV and wondering what’s wrong with me. Flipping through the pages of Elle and Vibe Magazines. Stuck between Jennifer Anniston and a video ho in what you were supposed to be.

So with this project I wanted to both bring to light the true beauty of all girls, especially those battling that negativity that destroys self-esteem and makes for a deep sadness of feeling unwanted and unloved. I wanted to not just make a piece of literature to combat ignorance, but a love letter to all those little girls I wanted to embrace. That I wanted to sit down next to and color with. That I want to tell “you are special, if to NO ONE ELSE, but to me.”

One part political piece, one part tribute, I’m going to take the beauty of these ordinary girls and show that Sasha and Malia are simply part of the bigger picture, simply two stars in a galaxy of lovely, little girls. That many black parents love and see the beauty in their children just as Barack and Michelle cherish the wit and brilliance and beauty in their daughters.

And that’s why I’m doing it.

Out of the pictures sent to me I will select from many of them and send a brief questionnaire to the parents, relatives and friends who submitted the little beauties asking about their personalities and talents and put together a tribute piece to our children.

Then use it as a weapon against ignorance.

I will post the full work on the blog and in a hardcopy form to be sent out to the blind so that they may hopefully open their eyes, hearts and minds and see how shallow they have been.

If it heals the heart or helps prevent the pain of another Pecola, another me, another black woman struggling with her own self-image, it’s worth it.

—–

If you still want to be part of the project you have until Feb. 8th to send pictures to moi, via email.

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98 thoughts on “On Little Black Girls, Beauty and Barbie Dolls

  1. Ellen says:

    Thank you. I am the white mother of an African American toddler, adopted at birth. Two days ago I came home to find a copy of Glamour magazine in my mailbox, addressed to me. Not sure how it got there, but I know I don’t want it in my house where Abby’s going to see it. My daughter is dark, gorgeous, funny, smart, kind (her teachers said she was off the charts for compassion in the two year old room, the first to go reassure or comfort another kid), and seeing Sasha and Malia and knowing she will grow up assuming they belong in the white house (I can tell her how amazing it is, but for her, it’s the way it is) is such a comfort to me. I was a curly headed, glasses wearing kid in the brady bunch era and it’s my job to protect her from this garbage. I tell her every day how beautiful she is, how wonderful her hair is, how perfect she is (ok, not when she’s bathing books, like she did this evening), what a miracle she is. So does my mother, and my father, and her godmother . . . Thank you. and thanks to your parents for doing such a good job.

  2. I just got tears in my eyes picturing that time coloring with your dad.What a great man, to lead by example and show you how great you are.

  3. Wow, I finally had a minute to sit down and read this and I’m blown away. Thanks for such a thoughtful piece. And thanks also to your father, for his guidance, and your mother’s too. As a new parent of a little girl, it is actually encouraging to see that – amidst all the chaos – the simplest strategies can really have an impact.

  4. ezwalker says:

    Dear Danielle:I too lived in North County, and my dad worked for McDonnell Douglas. Did you live in Florissant? Hazelwood? I’m from Florissant. I went to McCluer North, first graduating class of ’74. I lived in Wedgewood. Where was your old stompin’ grounds? I live in Tulsa, Oklahoma now. I was turned on to your post in Feministing, and I will add this blog to my lists of favorites. Great post – I’m white, but I can truly relate to the worship of blonde beauty – I was always mousey brown – but no more. Now I’m a raven haired (dyed) beauty – albeit getting a little old around the edges. Always nice to hear from a home gal!ez

  5. Furious|T| says:

    I’m a white man with a white baby girl, and this post really opened my eyes. I’ve already been worried about my white daughter being affected negatively by beauty standards, but hadn’t considered the effect this stuff would have on the way she sees other children of other colors in our ethnically-mixed neighborhood. After reading this, I see how important it is for her to think black girls and latin girls and asian girls are just as beautiful as little white girls and not absorb madison avenue’s prejudice. Thanks so much for doing what you do.

  6. NAGROM says:

    Furious T and ezwalker, I really like the fact that you too are very open and honest about the obvious message the mainstream media has been sending out to our children, that said, I like that Furious T added that he wants his little daughter to see minority children as her equal, because for Heaven’s sake they ARE.

  7. NancyP says:

    Your dad was a smart parent. Kids want to like and do what their parents like and do. One of the most appealing things about the Obama kids is that they aren’t sullen or scared, but "just kids" enjoying "go to work with Dad" moments. I gather that some effort is made to keep their number of appearances relatively low, and to keep them entertained by someone they like (Grams?) during the times when Dad, and often Mom, are busy. Some politicians’ kids look like they know that they are there as campaign props, and look bored or sullen or unnaturally stiff – that is, the appearances are a chore.

  8. Candice Lynch says:

    What you are doing is awesome! I remember when I was younger asking my parents to stop buying me all white Barbies & Cabbage Patch dolls because they didn’t look like me. They said they bought me the ones I had because there wasn’t much variety. With two younger sisters, if they brought one of us the only black doll on the shelf, they brought the others the white ones so we would know whose was whose. I never received another white doll again. When Rainbow Brite came out, I remember how proud my mom was to to get the black doll for me. She actually started searching them out (the black girl in Jem, Strawberry Shortcake, etc.)I wish I had a daughter to send you photos of. I have a son but I work hard to show him positive black images in his toys as well. He’s a huge superheroes fan and there aren’t many black heroes in the comics. The Teen Titans had 3 black characters and I made sure he owned every single one I could find. Thank you for sharing the beauty of our people.

  9. Genevra says:

    I came here through Feministing, and I have to say that this is one of the most beautiful, influential, and uplifting blogs I have ever read. I’m Latina and Sicilian and vividly recall having similar experiences growing up. Beautiful people had blonde hair, blue eyes, and pink skin. A few weeks ago, I went for a walk in the park with my friend, who is white, and our daughters, who are both one year old. Another park visitor– not surprisingly, a white woman– looked AWAY from my olive-skinned, black-haired, GORGEOUS child, and said to my friend, "What a pretty baby you have. SHE HAS BLONDE HAIR AND BLUE EYES, JUST LIKE AN ANGEL."I cleared my throat politely, and the woman smirked at me and simply said, "How old is YOUR baby?" before she went back to admiring my friend’s pink-skinned daughter… My friend’s daughter, who looked like an angel because she had blonde hair and blue eyes.While my daughter and I are not black, and I can’t relate to racist beauty standards from an African American perspective, I can say that I will tell my daughter as often as I have to that her olive skin and curly black hair are as beautiful as beautiful can be. Thanks for the wonderfully uplifting words.

  10. Maddie says:

    Am I wrong in thinking that some of you are demonizing white people in the process? My family has been here for centuries… fought on the Union side, never owned slaves, were activists in the civil rights movement, etc etc etc… My parents raised me to judge others not ever based on the color of their skin but always by their character. Coming for a family that has for so many generations fought for equality it is frustrating that I can’t shake the feeling that I am grouped in together with all other white people. Just as you do, I do not want to be stereotyped, especially after all the work of my forefathers (and mothers). I actually live in a town that has the highest percentage per capita of interracial children and couples, and in a state that has the most black people per capita of any state. I swear to you, my black friends and white friends mesh together as if we are exactly the same. We understand and respect our separate heritages but we also understand that if we were to try to separate ourselves too much from each other the understanding and love we share would not exist. One wonderful friend of mine, a black man, we don’t talk about my "whiteness" or his "blackness." He has known since he met me that I was fighting for all the same things he is. We are political activists that have spent many an afternoon in DC marching side by side. He has never once judged me for being white, never once told me that "I wouldn’t understand." NO ONE should be judged by the color of their skin. Even the people that happened to be born bearing the color considered by some to be more powerful politically (but HELLO- can someone say OBAMA?) I am the girl that grew up listening to blues music and Bob Marley. I am the girl that the first protest I took my father to he bought a vintage black panthers pin and wore it proudly on his hat. I am the girl with an 85 year old WHITE grandmother that proudly remembers the days she risked her freedom in her protesting for black rights.I feel like nothing I ever do will be good enough to be accepted by Africian Americans as a whole. I feel like the "white power structure" is so hated, and whites along with it, that whether or not African Americans choose to admit it, they will look at me in suspicion first. I am tired of busting my rear end trying to earn the trust of every African American I meet simply because I am white. Please look at me as a person, because that’s how I see you.Why can’t we all just be people, and each and every one of us judge the other on our character only?In all sincerity,Maddie

  11. My daughter is Australian Aboriginal. However she has "white" features and skin tone. I don’t know if you are interested images of her "type" of colouring… I understand if you aren’t.

  12. Rev. Hermitica says:

    Maddie,I’m white too, and the short answer is that yes, you are wrong. Don’t take it personally; no one is trying to attack you. Racism is still ingrained into society and into our power structures (Obama’s election doesn’t really change that). People here are examining and working against some of these insidious, under-the-radar forms of bigotry that serve to tell people of color that they are "less than" from childhood onward.This link is talking about sexism instead of racism, but the overall concept of institutionalized oppression is the same, so it might be worth a look: http://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/2008/05/24/feminism-friday-feminists-look-for-stuff-to-get-mad-about/

  13. Laura says:

    Great post. I am white, but work with a group of predominantly black children through a church program. I started noticing the lack of black dolls when I went to buy Christmas presents for a few of them. I wanted to buy them a doll that looked like them, but that was a lot, lot harder than I thought.What’s shameful is that not only are there few black dolls, but most of the black dolls I saw were light-skinned. I could find no dark-skinned black dolls. This sends an unfortunate message.

  14. I am a light-skinned Latina. Funny enough, I had the same experience you did. I always drew white people. I didn’t think to color them in. It wasn’t until high school that my aunt was fed up and she told me I should start drawing people who were Hispanic or African-American. I did it but it was tough to scour magazines for photos of models to copy from.

  15. Ruchama says:

    That’s a really beautiful post.Thinking about the dolls made me remember this story. When I was about 4, I told my mother that I wanted a black Cabbage Patch Kid. (We’re white.) My mother said OK, and took me to the store to buy one. We got to the cash register. The cashier looked at the doll, then looked at me and my mother, then looked back at the doll. (My mother is very pale. I’m fairly dark. People who see me and my mother together, without knowing any other relatives, frequently assume that my father is black.) So, anyway. The cashier, seeing a white mother and a white-but-possibly-mixed child buying a black doll, asked me, "But don’t you want a pretty doll?"

  16. Koala says:

    Hi Danielle,First time on your blog. I love it. Good job!Sasha and Malia remind me of my sister and myself too. However, looks wise…not really.Our mom’s family is from the Caribbean and our dad’s is Af.-Am. We got the "Oh, you look different." (compared to Af.-Am. kids) comment ALL of the time. Sasha and Malia are Kenyan…most Af.-Am. and people from the Caribbean aren’t. I think it IS tough to find girls that look like them.Personally, I get annoyed anytime magazines, etc. compare some random black person to Michelle (Tyra) or P. Obama (random black-white kids) and they look nothing like them. There’s an Indonesian man that looks more like the president!

  17. mali says:

    Here we go with the "Sasha-and-Malia-are-SO-exotic" meme. *eyeroll* Open your eyes and look at the diversity in appearance of the African American community, Koala. Sashas and Malias are in abundance in the black community and I dare say that I can find countless African American females that look like you and your sis.

  18. My God, this post brought tears to my eyes. I’ve written (but not nearly as eloquently as this) about the statements made about and to little black girls; statements that destroy our sense of self and leave us feeling un-beautiful. Amazing job Danielle. Here’s the post I did about the statements a teacher made concerning how whites don’t find black features attractive… http://www.makeuptheoryworkshops.com/2009/01/psychology-of-makeup.html

  19. Sabrina says:

    We can never tire of holding Madison Avenue accountable for the images that it pushes on the larger population. Danielle you have outdone yourself and I applaud your efforts. We all recall having those "less than" thoughts growing up. As an adult of 19 to free myself from those shackles of self hatred I chopped off my relaxer out, lost a boyfriend over it (told I was going through a phase) and wore my hair natural for the next two decades. Anytime I purchase a gift for a friend’s child they are consistently books, board games and other learning tools that feature black children. Living in NYC we’ve had access to things like that for quite some time. And nowadays the industry is filled with ‘afro’ centric toys, games and other items check google and you’ll see. However, if you ask those vendors, they are struggling because there are still alot of black parents who are still giving their children toys that do not feature black youth of any age. I see it all the time. Here is a real cool thing…in my neighborhood I’ve gawked at a white child snuggling a small cute, black baby doll while being pushed in the stroller. I wanted to ask the mother "Why?" but chickened out. I’d like to think she was aware of the world her child will enter and wants her to learn to love and care about all types of people. In any event, given the chance I’d have a better sense of what I would ask her and I WOULD ask her, and then thank her. I don’t have children but if and when I do I hope one is girl so I can name her Danielle. For real…much love

  20. k says:

    Powerful writing. Powerful truth. Sorry I missed the cutoff… I’ve got my own stars shining brightly every day! Can’t wait to see your galaxy.-k.

  21. Marnie B says:

    I loved your post & I totally agree with you that black girls arent told they’re beautiful often enough. I also get what the modeling agency said: What they meant by "specific ethnicity"was that the Obama girls have light skin, straight hair, & European features, just like so many other "black" celebrities who are considered beautiful, like Halle Berry or Tyra Banks. While I’m not saying they’re not attractive I’d like to just once see the media show a beautiful black girl who is truly black, not biracial, with dark skin, kinky hair, & black features.

  22. Camila says:

    OlĆ”, Danielle!Achei seu texto simplesmente lindo e tocante! A admiro muito e acho sua luta importantĆ­ssima!Hi, Danielle!I read your text and i loved it, itĀ“s very beautifull and touching, moving! I really admire you! And that fight against racism and prejudice is essencial! [IĀ“m not very good in english, i can read better than write, so, donĀ“t strange if you donĀ“t understand me very well, iĀ“m from brazil, and, when i was a child, I only drawn white, blond girls with blue eyes.]

  23. Chaechae says:

    I moved to the US from South Africa a few years ago, at twelve. In SA, I’d always been told how pretty I was. My hair was considered long and people always told me how nice my eyes were, how I was lucky I had such an even complexion in such a nice colour. Of course, I knew a lot of Asian girls, white girls and brown girls, and I always felt that they were beautiful — for their nice hair or nice coloured eyes or skinny legs. I didn’t feel like I was less, but I was able to see beauty in all the women.I think that this is a cultural problem. The United States market favors white people, and when they show diversity, it’s in black girls that have European features, Asians with the "right eyes" (one of my friends told me about this — Korean girls get surgery to get that little fold in the eyelid), Hispanic people that are lighter in complexion.America is warped. The rest of the world follows in their footsteps. This is a problem not being addressed.

  24. Zion says:

    Danielle, your father serves as an example for us all. He did not berate white people, instead he decided to show you – your unique beauty without degrading someone else’s. In the black race, we try to pretend that issues such as colorism do not exist, and they do. Even within our own race, there is a tendency to lean towards individuals who possess features that are not considered traditionally "black." We have not noticed how Hollywood continues to claim that there have been so many strides for black actresses, and black women in general, but yet, you see the same soup warmed over every time. I think that experience was awesome because it was a father daughter experience. I keep telling people..don’t underestimate the presence of a STRONG father figure.

  25. Soda & Candy says:

    I’m coming to this late, but I just had to say this is literally the first blog post that ever brought tears to my eyes.I wish you all possible success with your project and hope that it reaches girls that need to hear it.

  26. Telly Long Legs says:

    This was phenomenal. It made me think about my past and how I grew up wishing I had green eyes and being white. It took me a looong time to realize that I was beautiful on the in and outside. I recently read Toni Morrison’s the Bluest Eye and was in awe because it reflected us, till this day. We need more powerful people like you to continue what you’re doing and to tell our youth no matter what race or ethnicity that they are indeed beautiful.

  27. Erikalynn says:

    Thank you for writing this, it was beautiful. When I read this I had to think of my 6 year old daughter, she calls her complexion Black (like the crayon black) and mine Brown. I had to let her know her complexion, my complexion, her brothers complexion are all one color and that is Black and Black is BEAUTIFUL, no matter what shade of black it is.

  28. Cat386 says:

    so much time and energy to skin – you have got to be kidding me! what about character and integrity, self-esteem from great parenting period where what you look like on the outside is the least of your f,in worries b/c you are to busy becoming something great to spend this much time on outward appearance – what about asian dolls and jewish dolls and mexican dolls and indian dolls – not enough of those either but last I heard about china they are to busy becomiong the next superpower and their females are not worried about f,n barbie dolls – come girls – you are teaching your young ones to continue to hold the flame of insecurity –

  29. Eric says:

    I think it's great to teach about the beauty of blackness, but also important to teach the beauty of diversity and other cultures. Another reader mentioned that we have the media portraying blond hair and blue eyes as beautiful because white people are in the majority. I completely agree and don't think it's some kind of racist agenda, I think that if it were in some place like Somalia you would probably also see very few commercials portraying white women as beautiful.Definitely buy your girls black barbies and keep their hair natural or braided, but maybe also buy them white and latino (if that exists) barbies and teach them that beauty comes in different forms, and that doesn't make any one culture or skin tone more beautiful or uglier, just different.

  30. Wow! is all i have to say. Being a African American woman i didn't always embrace my hair but i have decided to grow my natural hair out and I am proud! Many of us were told by relatives and outsiders that our hair wasn't good enough b/c it was loosely curled or it was too course. Until I read this article I never realized how skin color and beliefs play a major role with how we define ourselves and the relationships we build with others. Thanks for the inspiration b/c fucking BLACK.GIRLS.ROCK!

  31. Alexandra says:

    I come from Athens, Greece, and I have the huge luck to be teacher of creative dance and other creative activities to an immensely beautiful, smart and sweet girl, who's mother is Greek and father African. She gets bullied at school for being different and, according to me, also because of the envy that her being so charismatic causes to others…The coloring book story reminds me of the numerous times she and I have spent together making drawings of herself and other people. She too quite naturally is greatly influenced by the "white beauty ideal" and tended to even draw herself as somebody else, somebody with "white" characteristics. Slowly we managed to start making much more realistic drawings of her wonderful self but still she feels a lot of rejection for herself caused by the dominant attitudes in society and others…Such a great great pity…It really makes me angry! Every time I see her I feel the need to let her know how beautiful she is, what an amazing person she is…Thank you for your story, I came across it accidentally and I felt very well and justified by reading it. Thanks again!

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