Makeup Beauty Doll and Other Problems with White Privilege

Reposting, again. It’s been two years since I last posted this and many years since I wrote it. It’s still relevant.

Pamela Helberg

Many years ago, flummoxed by the joys and perils of raising two non-white children in our predominantly white culture, I wrote an essay expressing my doubts and fears, and (surprising to me now) my certainties (you will recognize them when you see them). Some of what I wrote makes sense and some of it clearly needs rethinking. Yesterday on the day we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr., my eldest daughter, now 23, texted me (this is how we communicate these days). She was wondering if I thought it odd that the company for which she now works didn’t celebrate the national holiday. I do find it odd, odd that only governments and banks shut down on this Monday when the world grinds to a halt, more or less, for other national holidays: Christmas, Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, the 4th of July.

My initial response to her was yes, MLK day…

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One thought on “Makeup Beauty Doll and Other Problems with White Privilege

  1. Thank you for re-publishing this piece, Pam. We continue to be a very “skin conscious” world. I see it when I travel. In Mexico, people shun los indios because of their skin, and in Taipei many woman still bleach their skin and walk under umbrellas to keep it as white as possible. But here in the U.S. it’s even worse; some politicians, if elected, will build walls to keep people of color out. Is that not just a form of architectural apartheid?

    Happy MLK day!

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