Monday, September 29, 2008

Un-Bee-Lievable

This recent post from Anti-Racist Parent got me thinking about the images of "humanity" that our little one (to be born any day now) may be exposed to during his childhood:

"As the mother of two little guys, I have spent countless hours watching cartoons. Some have made me laugh and smile, while others have left me with countless moments of reflection. I recently suffered through The Bee Movie with Mayhem and Destruction.

Isn’t Barry the Bee the cutest thing you have seen in a long time? Well Barry is not only cute, he is about making a change.

“A recent college graduate, Barry wants more out of life than the inevitable career that awaits him, and every other worker in the New Hive City - a job at Honex…making honey. Barry jumps at the chance to venture out of the hive, and soon encounters a world beyond his wildest dreams. When Barry inadvertently meets a quirky florist names Vanessa (Renee Zellweger), he breaks one of the cardinal rules of beedom - he talks to her. A friendship soon develops, and Barry gets a guided crash course in the ways of the human race. When he shockingly discovers that anyone can just buy honey right off the grocery store shelf, he realizes that his true calling is to stop this injustice and set the world right by suing the human race for stealing the bees’ precious honey.”

From this little synopsis it would seem that children would gain a lot of positives from viewing this movie. They would learn about the need to stand up for personal beliefs, the interdependency cycle of the environment, as well as the importance of agency and autonomy. Not bad for a DreamWorks flick…That is until you realize that what they mean by human is white. That is right, all of the main characters that are not bees are white. Making POC [people of color] invisible even in the imaginary world of cartoons is racism. Why should my 7 year old not be able to see himself reflected and understood as human? The very idea that Bee is suing all of humanity, should mean that various races, creeds, religions, sexualities and abilities receive equal representation. " (This is a must read)

I would add that in your typical cartoon, kids who would be considered multiracial are unlikely to see other children like themselves or representations of multiracial families. God loves color. Let's encourage those who create entertainment for our children to represent that in all its beauty and diversity.