A few months ago, a parental magazine to which I subscribe had an article about ideas on kid's birthday party and there was one entitled "Japanese Tea Party." I cringed and went on to look. Much to my delight, there were some cute ideas in there, but here was the picture:
Two things: 1. chopsticks in hair 2. the fold on the robe is that of a dead person*. In the following month's issue, there was a letter from the reader that said, "thank you so much for the great idea!" with a photo of white children dressed in the exact same manner. So here are my mixed feelings-- should I feel good that people are trying to teach their children to be multicultural or should I feel annoyed that they are just spreading stereo type?
But then on a hopeful note, one of my drama educators at thetheatre where I work was looking something up on her laptop for her students during break. She was just reading this very blog recently so when she opened up her laptop, her students could see the title pretty prominently on her screen. One of her students, a white boy about the age of 9 saw this and said "EVERYONE knows not to do that with chopsticks."
I would like to high five him and his parents.
Win some, lose some I guess.
*In Japan、in accordance to the Buddhist tradition, we dress the dead in white kimono and the fold is right over left. Apparently, it stems from the belief that things are opposite in afterlife. Consequently, if you dress an alive person in that manner, it's believed to bring bad luck to not only the person who is wearing it, but those who are around them.