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Representative toys/books

37 replies

notanaturalmum · 08/05/2021 22:40

Would love to have some recommendations for story books, cartoons with black kids in.
Unfortunately my DS who is 4 and mixed race (black/white) has started saying he wants a white face.
He has a few personalised books but the characters are all white so when we read them he says - that isn't me mummy because the boy in the book has a white face.
And all the superheroes he likes are white as well.
So I'd like to get him some books with black people in so that he sees people like him in them.
I guess also what I'm realising is because he's mixed race, he's not the same colour as me or his dad which must be hard for him.
He knows that his skin is beautiful etc but we live in quite a white area and there are no other black children in his nursery. My parents are the only other black people he knows. All my friends and my husbands friends are pretty much white. So no wonder he's feeling like this I guess.
But I want to combat it.
I'm quite secure being black it's rarely bothered me but I want to help my son so that he doesn't feel isolated.

Any ideas please?

OP posts:

JaninaDuszejko · 09/05/2021 14:15


sashh · 09/05/2021 15:19

I’m mixed race and my ex is black, my children are the same, constantly saying they want to be white “like mummy” I’m not white but I do look it I guess, we live in London so I’m not sure moving is the answer as we live in south east London so very very diverse.

Depending on the age of your children you might want to tell them about my friend.

My friend is black and she said the one thing she never expected in life was to give birth to a white baby.

This has caused problems over the years eg when she went into school for anything the teachers always assumed she was the step mother, not the mother.

And I think it would be good for my son to socialise with other black kids. But I would feel strange just rocking up on the other side of town and trying to force friendships. Would that not be weird?

Not necessarily. A work colleague who was deaf was taken to a deaf football team as a child because the family did not know anyone who was deaf.

Lots of people look for opportunities for children to explore their culture, I've come across Latvian, Chinese and Hindi 'school' where children attend Saturday mornings.

The Latvian classes were in the 1970s so 2nd and 3rd generation.


Fkrkrodps · 09/05/2021 16:42

@notanaturalmum - thank you 😊 I’m glad you like it.


RedMarauder · 09/05/2021 22:23

OP when I initially read this thread I thought you were trolling as I find it hard to believe that someone who is non-white is unable to see the diverse characters in the programmes on CBeebies even when not particularly watching e.g. Waffle The Wonder Dog, YolanDa's Band Jam, Let's Go For a Walk and The Baby Club At Home. (I initially read this thread when I was watching In The Night Garden, which is bloody annoying. )

If you have a child who is considered an ethnic minority in this country then unlike children who are part of the white majority as a parent you need to plan ahead and be proactive whether this is in the toys they play with, the books they read, the friends they make and the other people of all ages that they are around so they don't feel like they are the other. (You may have felt your parents didn't do that for you, but your parents took you to see relations and family friends regularly. )

Even then as a PP has pointed out it isn't all plain sailing and you will get random questions and comments from your children where they are questioning their identity.

Other people have given you toys and books with black and brown characters and figures but to be honest if you aren't proactive and plan ahead then you will find that when you want a specific toy or book for a present you are unable to get it. This means you will end up buying items months or years in advance you end up giving as birthday or Christmas presents.

In regards to superheroes Spiderman hasn't been white since 2011 - He is now mixed ethnicity - black and Latino. In the last couple of years there has been load of Spiderman merchandise around to buy. The vast majority has spider web logo or spiderman in his costume on it, and doesn't show Miles Morales.

I agree with Sugarintheplum and other PPs that you and your husband need to make the effort to get your son and any other children you have, around people that look more like them as much as possible.

Both sports clubs and churches are use to people, including children, coming from far away to participate in their activities as they know if they suit an individuals circumstances whether that is disability, ethnicity, religion, culture, ability or anything else then people can stay with them for decades.

In addition it isn't weird to arrange regular play dates while your children are in primary school, with people you meet through those activities. My own elder siblings did this when they and their spouses - some of whom aren't black - moved away from London ensure their children met other children more like them.

One big thing that is missing is that you have a boy. With the issues that boys and men who are black and mixed ethnicity I am related to and I know have had, it is really important that your husband is aware and at leasts understands the difference in how he and your son are treated in the same circumstances. There are certain things that boys defer to their fathers over due to them being the same sex regardless of racial issues. If you, and more importantly your husband, are not aware of these issues then you can't prepare you son on how to deal with them if he meets them. You won't get this information and insight unless you around other black and mixed ethnicity people, and most importantly talk to them.


notanaturalmum · 09/05/2021 22:57

Wow. I can't believe you thought I would be a troll. I'm sorry you can't believe people like me exist but we do. So there you go.

We tend to watch Milkshake - so have seen the Grimwades. Both my kids skipped the night garden stage so we don't really do Cbeebies although my DS pointed to upsa daisy and said she was his favourite - perhaps they watch it at nursery.
This post and the terse replies I've received have been extremely eye opening. I almost feel like I've been told off for not doing a good job when I feel that I've been trying to do that for the past 4 years.
The main thing is though that I want to ensure my little boy (and girl who is 2) grow up to be secure in their ethnicity no matter where they grow up. I'm just doing what my parents did for me - of course we visit my relatives (well not recently). But my parents didn't seek out places to take me so i could mix with black people. And maybe that's why I've turned out the way I have.
But we are where we are and I'm now planning ahead to try and equip him (and her later) with the tools they need to deal with whatever comes their way.
I'm sorry if you feel I've not done this early enough.

OP posts:

RedMarauder · 10/05/2021 09:32

OP you feel like you are being told off because posters are perplexed that a well-educated black woman didn't consider that her children could have issues with their own ethnic identity in a white majority country before she had them. It is something that has been mentioned in the mainstream and not just in academia, forums and on social media.

Anyway the main reason I replied is to point out to you there are various threads on this part of MN including one started last night on issues that you and most importantly your husband need to be aware off and have tactics to help your son deal with the issues if they arise.


Jannetra17 · 10/05/2021 11:28

This reply has been deleted

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WellIsntThisA · 10/05/2021 15:46

I'm sorry you can't believe people like me exist but we do. So there you go.

OP, I understand your position. It's something I've seen many times and it's normal too.

Just as many White people don't understand a lot of the problems many Black people face, many Black people also don't understand the problem a lot of other Black people, whose upbringing or experience is different to theirs, face. It's natural for people to think something is odd if they've never experienced or heard of it, so don't be surprised with some of the reactions you get. Although I don't think you've actually gotten any scolding reaction, probably besides one or two posters (Not in my opinion but I can see how it would seem that way).

However, for what it's worth, if you're really up for 'fixing' this issue, I agree with a lot of what @Sugarplum said because it's something to think about and not as an accusation. No, you don't have to move if you're happy with where you are but you'll need to do a lot more in terms of getting your children to be around other Black people of similar values regularly - even online. Your decision to incorporate football classes, etc is a start, I agree.


Ollinisca · 11/05/2021 02:28

This reply has been deleted

Message deleted

Lovenaptime · 19/10/2021 09:08

Another great recommendation would be the Wanderlust Baking Kit by //
It's a Baking Kit that focuses on cultural bakes from around the world, I'm on my second month with my two children who are loving learning about childhood favourites from their culture...


TouchMyToe · 19/10/2021 12:52

@RedMarauder, i would agree with you and planning ahead. My DH is white, i'm black and we had a discussion agreeing any future kids will be brought up as black because they will be black. I feel strongly about my culture being passed down. We intend to send them to divere schools etc and take them 'back home' for holidays


nicemarmot · 19/10/2021 13:07

Here are some book suggestions broken down by age group:
Super Duper You is a good picture book too.

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