Monday, April 7, 2008
A new billboard has begun appearing around the city. It's an image of two giant people shaking hands, but once you look closer it becomes clear that the two giants are actually two crowds of people in formation. Adinah and Anette were talking about it yesterday, and Adinah said that there were only two black people in the whole picture, and no people at all with curly hair (like hers.)
When Anette told me this, my first thought was that we should write a (suitably indignant) letter to the advertiser (The Vienna Insurance Group). Let 'em know that they hurt my little girl's feelings. I can hear the deafening silence a complaint like that would meet with, and I can imagine the response of an insurance company spokesperson if he or she were cornered and confronted about the subject ("Actually, the image in our advertisement accurately reflects the demographics of our Austrian client base--we did market research, you know.")
But I don't know what it means to Adinah. I wonder what she thinks when she looks at the world around her here, and sees so few faces of color (like hers.) And when she sees other black or brown people, does she count them on one hand?
I imagine that might be a lonely experience.
We were talking recently, and Adinah told me that when she gets older, she doesn't want to have a baby in her belly. She wants to have a foster kid, like V. But what does this all mean to her really? From what I've read, adopted kids go through phases of understanding what adoption means, what having biological children means, phases of wanting to be different, and wanting to be the same as all the other kids. The kid's views on the subject aren't progressive, either--in other words, Adinah probably won't suddenly develop angst about being adopted, then gradually work it out and accept it and become a 'whole' person. Actually, right now, Adinah doesn't seem to have much angst about who she is at all.
But when she counts the number of black people in an advertising billboard, or when she talks about how cool long blond hair is, or when she draws herself with long blond hair, well...I see some trouble over the horizon.