Early Morning Lessons in Political Correctness


In my last post I opened with a bit of a humble brag about my daughter’s ability to amuse herself for a time on weekend mornings, a few words about how I’d come to appreciate the ability to sleep past the first rays of sunshine a few days a week. Naturally this immediately came back to bite me in the ass, as only a few days after hitting publish I came downstairs to be greeted by this early morning surprise:


the trouble with books?
the face you make when you realize thats permanent marker


Was she trying out a new superhero look, emulating her favorite professional wrestler, or adding some camouflage before another attempt at scaring the crap out of me by hiding behind the computer desk?

Unfortunately, all no. She was trying to look like an “Indian Chief.”

Uh, oh.

The culprit for this episode of crass cultural appropriation was identified quickly, a Peter Pan book that we had read a few nights earlier. I had cringed at the time, set it aside for future “recycling” alongside a Skippyjon Jones book that I still can’t figure out if it is racist or not, and thought nothing more of it. Another reminder that not everything in the huge collection of hand me down and tag sale books that we have accumulated has aged particularly well.

I’ve always tried to be somewhat cautious in the degree of political correctness that I embrace. I think most of us will agree that it was a good idea that Speedy Gonzalez and the skunk running around Paris trying to rape the painted kitty were retired but I have a hard time taking seriously the idea that G I Joe furthered  the agenda of the military industrial complex perpetuated by Reagan’s obsession with winning the Cold War. If the worst thing that our children are subjected to on a typical Saturday morning is the fat shaming of Daddy Pig by his family then I think that is progress that should be celebrated.

It made for an oddly difficult conversation, my attempts at explaining why we shouldn’t color our faces with permanent marker more successful than those trying to convince her that actual Native Americans might become upset about her pretending to be one of them or seeing the manner in which they were depicted in her book.

How much good I did is debatable but it was a good reminder that teachable moments can be upon us at any time. Also that I should probably spend some time going through all these old books we have lying around and hide the markers.




14 thoughts on “Early Morning Lessons in Political Correctness”

  1. One of my daughter’s books has a few lines about ‘Red Indians’ and it always makes me cringe, even though she’s only two. I tend to just leave them out rather than try to explain why it’s not okay to say that, given that she’s too young to understand. Well done for trying to address it, even if it made for awkward conversation! #familyfun

  2. I think the PC brigade has gone a bit mad. She’s just a child playing dress up, encouraging them to learn about other races, religions, cultures etc is much more important. I do hope it came off though!

  3. I know I shouldn’t be laughing at your poor little girl with yellow permanent marker on her face, so un-PC! It’s only because its not my child this time. I know the world is a little PC mad these days but maybe it’s better to err on the side of caution than being disrespectful? I guess we’ll never get it 100% right. #FamilyFunLinky

    1. If it was somebody else’s kid, I would be laughing too. I think you are absolutely right, it costs us nothing to try and be respectful as much as we can. If there are times when it gets a little silly, and there are, I’d rather live in that world than the alternative

  4. Oh but her little face did make me chuckle. We have an old book in which it refers to ‘red idians’ But my children are only two and three so I can quite easily gloss over it and change the words myself. I am less keen on having to explain these sorts of things when they’re older for fearing of getting it wrong or blowing their minds. I do hope that marker came off! Thanks for joining us at #familyfun

  5. Neither of my boys ever got into Peter Pan and I can’t say that I’ve ever read them any books that pertained to racism but I have kept Tom Sawyer from surfacing for that reason. Not because of the PC though but because I know the number of questions I’ll get from my 11 year old very inquisitive and very sensitive son lol. I won’t even get through the book. I tried reading to him a Charles Dickinson classic Oliver Twist and he wasn’t a fan of that one either lol. #FamilyFunLinky

    1. The Peter Pan book was just a random choice off the bookshelf. We haven’t had a lot of very deep conversations yet about racism, but its something that I try and address on an age appropriate level. Its hard to know if its enough though

    1. no, she certainly didn’t have any bad intentions and I’m sure when the book was written nobody would have batted an eye either – except maybe the Native Americans that were being lampooned.

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