The 7-Year-Old Samba Queen and Identity vs Societal Norms

Have you heard the old joke that plays on the philosophical question about a tree falling in the forest?  You know the one… “If you’re in the forest and you say something wrong and your spouse (of course I’m going with the gender neutral version!) doesn’t hear you, are you still wrong?” While seemingly innocuous,…

Cross-Cultural Truth: No Such Thing as a Fat Barbie

With the notable first black Disney princess debuting 84 years after the first (in the Princess and the Frog, in Theaters December 11), I don’t doubt that the number of black dolls also falls well behind that of white dolls.  So it’s understandable that, as the Wall Street Journal points out, “many black parents had…

Unconscious Bias #44 Revealed: Skinny, White, Beautiful Blondes, aka “Shiksas”

 Let me clarify two things upfront, before explaining my most recent revelation of unconscious bias: 1) Self-revelation of an unconscious bias is the best way to address it and overcome it. It’s like the old AA adage. You have to acknowledge there’s a problem first. 2) I was about to defend my use…

Happy Halloween. I’m Going as a Brazilian. Or a Jew. Or a Brazilian Jew.

Doesn’t everyone have that one friend who doesn’t dress up for Halloween, but likes to come up with ways to describe his/her costume anyway, as in “I’m dressed as a pedestrian.” At first I declared I was dressed Brazilian, after deciding not to change my shirt in response to my 8 year old’s announcement that “I…

Kids Movies Still Carry Either/Or Message for Girls

Nancy Olson as Betsy Carlisle in 1961’s The Absent Minded Professor vs. Anna Faris as Sam Sparks in 2009’s Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs…We’ve come a long way, right?  Not really. One of the joys of having kids (or borrowing other people’s kids) is for the excuse to indulge nostalgic yearnings by re-watching favorite childhood…

Are you saying I’m fat? Not in this culture, I’m not!

 My friend Rich wrote on his Facebook Wall that he had gained the first 5 pounds of autumn.  Pretty innocuous news that you would think would go unnoticed.  What ensued, however, was an unprecedented, lively conversation, involving people from across the country who didn’t even know each other, basically coming together to make fun of…