04 April 2009

Got Black to Asian and Caucasian sayin'...

"As a teenager, I lived in two worlds: the traditional Bengali heritage inside our home and the contemporary California of my suburban peers.

Sometimes the gap between those two worlds seemed huge. Apple pie? Didn’t taste it till I got to college. Our kitchen smelled of mustard-seed oil, turmeric, and cardamom. Bikinis? No way. A one-piece bathing suit felt too revealing (and still does). My mother never showed her legs in public, even when she eventually shelved her sarees in favor of jeans and long skirts. Dating? Fuhgeddaboudit. My parents’ marriage was arranged, and the clan expected the same for me.

I trudged back and forth between cultures, relying heavily on stories for insight into the secrets and nuances of North American life. But exactly what did those stories communicate about my place as a brown-skinned foreigner? And, in that mostly white suburb where I went to school, why can’t I remember any educators who were bold enough to raise the issue?"
-Mitali Perkins, Straight Talk on Race: Challenging the Stereotypes in Kids' Books-