#WeBuyBlack28 -- Day 20
Self esteem and self image are developed by the age of 3 years old. Parents often-time find difficulties in initiating conversations around self- image and self esteem, so the topic gets pushed to the wayside. However, if you don’t know who you are, then anyone can name you; and if anyone can name you, you’ll answer to anything.
In an effort to develop emotionally-whole children who hold themselves in high regard, consider using The Amazingly Brown activity set. What a better time than now to initiate this conversation and encourage our amazingly Brown children!? Here’s my interview with the creator of the Amazingly Brown and Amazingly Diverse Books and Activity sets, Dr. Bentley Gibson.
What makes Amazingly Diverse and Amazingly Brown unique from other educational products on the market?
Amazingly Diverse and Amazingly Brown are different from other educational products because they were created by a Psychologist who is an expert in the area of how children develop racial/ethnic attitudes. The products are the result of over a decade of research that I have done on finding the best ways to talk about race to young children and foster positive attitudes about all racial/ethnic groups (particularly those groups that are marginaized in our society).
Do you have children and if so how do you implement the products with them? Lessons, weekly discussions? Daily?
Yes! I have an AMAZINGLY BROWN four year old daughter, who is also named Bentley :). I created this product with her in mind. Over the past four years I have kept my research in mind while raising my daughter and am quite proud of the results. You can hear here dancing around the house on a regular basis shouting affirmations such as "I am AMAZINGLY BROWN!" or "Look at my magical, curly hair!". When I look at her I go back to when I was a four year old little girl, and remember all the princesses not looking like me. It made me feel less then. My personal experiences and my research inspired these products. AMAZINGLY BROWN is meant to foster positive attitudes about people of color. AMAZINGLY DIVERSE fosters an appreciate for difference and including other who are different from the self. This product allows children to hear stories and color in children from all racial/ethnic groups loving each other. You can also find her regularly saying "Me and Josephine have different skin colors and we love each other!". I have read my daughter the stories from both products and colored in the cards. We now, retell the stories while playing the match card game at least twice a week.
What do you really want people to know about your mission in creating the sets?
My mission in creating the sets is to help children understand early in their development to appreciate ALL racial/ethnic groups and to help them work through this process in a society that doesnt always reflect valuing everyone. When in graduate school, I conducted a study on European-American, African-American, Latino-American and South Pacific children and found that the only group of children who showed signifiant positive attitudes about their race group were European-American children. By age 5, children are aware of which groups society values and which groups society devalues and want to be a part of the valued group. The goal of these products was to make ALL children feel valued, paying particular interest to children who are members of negatively stereotyped groups.
As a PhD, what do you feel is the key to being successful in school?
PASSION for your research. Obtaining a doctorate is no easy task and it is about diving deep into a question and finding the answer. You have to do a lot of reading, critical thinking, and design studies that will answer your questions. Since preschool, I can always remember wondering "how does race/ethnicity guide our perceptions of self and each other?" "what makes someone prejudice?" "what parts of society influence how prejudiced we are" "what are the best ways to reduce prejudice?" These have been my questions since a little girl, and my passion for answering them is what made me successfully obtain my PhD and what continues to propel me forward in my career.
Who is your favorite woman in Black history and why?
Angela Davis! She is often entitled a RADICAL, but this is what I loved about her so much. The society we live in radically and systematically oppresses groups and Angela Davis has spent her entire life trying to empower those who have been marginalized and change the systems that oppress them. She is my inspiration!
Amazingly Brown and Amazingly Diverse activity sets can be purchased HERE!