Growing Up in Black and White

For African-American children, learning to love themselves is a tough challenge

"Mommy, I want to be white."

Imagine my wife's anguish and alarm when our beautiful brown-skinned three- year-old daughter made that declaration. We thought we were doing everything right to develop her self-esteem and positive racial identity. We overloaded her toy box with black dolls. We carefully monitored the racial content of TV shows and videos, ruling out Song of the South and Dumbo, two classic Disney movies marred by demeaning black stereotypes. But we saw no harm in Pinocchio, which seemed as racially benign as Sesame Street or Barney, and a good deal more engaging. Yet now our daughter was...

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