ME: Kirsten, MC Hammer is black.
KIRSTEN: No, he's not.
ME: Yes, yes, he is. You must have him confused with Vanilla Ice. (I figured since we were discussing music from before she was born, she must have switched some people.)
KIRSTEN: No, I don't. Vanilla Ice did ICE ICE BABY and the stupid song for that Turtles movie.
ME: (very impressed by the movie reference) I know who he is. So who are you talking about?
KIRSTEN: MC Hammer!!! You know! U CAN'T TOUCH THIS (she demonstrated the trade mark dance) He wore those ridiculous parachute pants.
ME: (impressed again) Well, that's the right guy, but he's black.
KIRSTEN: No, Dad, he's white. Why do you always lie to me?
ME: Are you messing with me?
KIRSTEN: Never mind.
|There were always questions|
about Michael Jackson, but this guy
is definitely black.
This conversation was the first thing on my mind when I woke up this morning. How did this happen? Have I failed as a parent? I have put forth great effort into exposing my kids to music and film that go beyond what the masses tell them to like. My daughter is a great lover of foreign cinema and independent films. My son once impressed the adults on a long bus trip when he knew all the words to the songs they were singing, despite the fact that most of them were popular twenty to forty years before he was born.
Kirsten's musical tastes include Frank Sinatra, David Bowie, Blondie and the Beatles. She does listen to today's music as well, but it is groups like Hush Sound, Dresden Dolls, Clocktower Showdown and Bobby Birdman. You don't hear these groups on the radio. She has a very broad and eclectic musical taste. So, what happened here? If I have somehow missed this, what else might she be misinformed about?
Does she know that Garth Brooks and Chris Gaines are the same person? Did she miss the clues that 99 Red Balloons was an anti-nuclear arms song? Does she know the secret identity of Hannah Montana? Does she understand the connection between Taylor Swift, Kanye West and Beyoncé Knowles?
Maybe, I am looking at this the wrong way. It could be that I have done a superb job of helping her to see past color and just recognize people. That would be a good thing. For most people, if they don't know who a rapper is, they would start with the assumption that he is black, but not my daughter. She doesn't stereotype people. However, I can see issues with this as well.
Would George Lopez still be funny if you didn't recognize he was Mexican? Chris Rock's career is based on his color. If he told those same jokes and my daughter thought he was white, would she find them racist? Where does she stand on the color of Martin Luther King? Would it make a difference? Can she tell the difference between Jamie Foxx and Jamie Farr? Or Will Smith and Wil Wheaton?
I believe I am making too much of this. I have a tendency to over think things. Plus, this one simplified itself for me later. When my daughter rolled out of bed at two in the afternoon and groggily slurred out "Good morning," I figured it out. I'm getting her tested. Maybe she's just not very bright.