How my white privilege nearly messed up a Halloween design

September 15, 2017

How my white privilege nearly messed up a Halloween design

This is a story of how I defaulted to an image of whiteness, and I never even thought about it until a friend called me out (in the kindest way).

On the left is a design that we almost made for this Halloween season. The witch is blonde and white, much like my three-year-old daughter... and to be honest, I'd never given it a moment's thought.

That is, until a friend asked whether I'd consider giving the girl on the shirt an afro. It would be so cool, she mused, if her daughter could see herself in a shirt like this. And I realized that I'd done what white people like me do so often: I'd defaulted to whiteness without ever questioning it.

So we went back to the drawing board and came up with the shirt on the right.

My blonde-haired, blue-eyed, fair-skinned daughter sees herself everywhere - on t-shirts, in TV shows and movies, and in books. My friend's daughter deserves to see herself too. And just as importantly, my daughter needs to see and embrace images of girls who don't look like her.

I'm so grateful to my friend for speaking up, and still pretty disappointed in myself for never giving the matter any thought until she said something. That's white privilege - never having to think about race. But I'm happy we ended up with a shirt that will empower more little witches who might not usually get to see themselves on t-shirts, and glad that this Halloween my kids will rock an image of a girl who doesn't look like Barbie. I hope your kiddos dig it too.



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