A few weeks ago Lady C went to see the Radio City Spring Spectacular featuring the Rockettes. We’ve been to the Christmas Spectacular several times, we’ve had dinner with a family friend that is a Rockette, several of them signed a souvenir doll for Lady C when she was a baby and we have even done a backstage tour but… she never met a black Rockette and didn’t know they existed.
After the Spring Spectacular, Lady C came home with a question that rocked us. She asked her dad:
Can I only be a Rockette if I am tan?
If you’ve read our blog before, you will know that we’ve explored the topic of race and color with Lady C. She uses the term tan to refer to white people… which includes her little sister… (and that’s a discussion we are still working on… that her sister is not, in fact, white).
Man, we were devastated.
Here we are… a family with a mother with a law degree, a dad with a Masters degree, each of us with careers that make us proud.
Here we are, a family that watched the inauguration of Barack Obama while Lady C was a baby, in utero, and we cried because our child would only know a world with a black President.
Here we are a family who felt like we could tell her she could be ANYTHING …. and it would be true.
But here we were with a five year that feels like she cannot do something because of her brown skin.
This moment was so timely because there was a lot of social media discussion around Black Girls Rock, First Lady Michelle Obama’s appearance and whether the Black Girls Rock movement is a racist one. The fact of the matter is that ABSENT representation is just as detrimental as NEGATIVE representation on the self-esteem, aspirations and ambition of young children. They need to see it to believe it!
So what did we do? We did what any rationale person would do… we cried to our mommy. Lady Cs grandmother, GG, has had a part time job at Radio City for years and a great relationship with many Rockettes. So GG asked Danielle who is not only a black Rockette but was one of the marquis ones for marketing during their most recent season.
Danielle agreed to meet Lady C and they had a fabulous lunch and even did a kick line together. Danielle told her about her career, when she started dancing and about other brown women dancers. Apparently Danielle is now invited to Lady C’s sixth birthday party… ha!
Here it is…. enjoy.