Doll companies I’m happy to support

At the time we lived in Southeast Asia there was a growing but tiny industry of local crafters that made blocks, stuffed animals, kitchen sets or doll houses, and other toys. We spent a lot on those, but they were locally sourced and well-crafted. Coming back to NY was a different story. Options, wow. The pop culture focus of the toy industry, a profit-over-people corporate ethos, the consumerist culture - it's over the top after several years abroad. My little girl hit the doll phase this year and has been asking for one. But finding a toy company I'm happy to support is hard enough; Barbie, American Girl, and other chain store brands whose company values hew to the mainstream for profit's sake won't be getting my business. … [Read more...]

is “Where are you from?” a relevant question?

"Where are you from?" Seems innocuous enough of a question. For me, and for many who look "different" in the US, inquiring minds don't typically accept the answer. The questions continue: "No really, what country are you from?", followed by "You speak such good English". The intent isn't usually malicious and while simple curiosity is friendly enough, the basis for that curiosity isn't. It denotes the perpetual foreigner syndrome or the "you are an outsider" problem that people of color face, no matter we're first or third generation native-born. (I've never been asked this question by other people of color.) It isn't an issue I lose sleep over these days. If anything, it presents an easy IQ test or some mild amusement. (If I say … [Read more...]