Opinions and Halloween Candy

Amelia and Princess Tiana
This Halloween our three year old decided to be Princess Tiana from Disney’s The Frog Prince. She also decided our dog would be her frog prince. We were thrilled with her idea. Princess Tiana is a hard working entrepreneur and many of her struggles mirror our family’s because for the past year and a half we have been working to open our own business. So I bought her the dress, tiara, and shoes but wasn’t prepared for the racism and stupidity we would encounter.

princess tiana
My daughter is blonde, white, and looks more like Cinderella. When she first started talking about being Princess Tiana, she asked if she could paint her face black to look more like Tiana. We saw this as an opportunity to teach her about diversity. Her teacher recommended books and we began to formulate an age appropriate explanation as to why she couldn’t paint her face black. We told her that although we knew it wasn’t her intention, painting her face black may hurt some of her friend’s feelings. She didn’t love the answer but accepted it and went back to being really excited about her Princess Tiana dress and accessories.

Then October hit and random adults started asking our daughter what she was going to be for Halloween and she would proudly yell, “Princess Tiana and my dog is going to be my frog prince.”

Most people smiled and asked her more questions about her costume, some didn’t know who Princess Tiana is, and more often than I can even believe adults shockingly said while grabbing their pearls, “But you’re not black.”

Really? After birthing her and taking care of her three years, I was never quite certain about my daughter’s skin color so thanks for clearing it up!

tiana-frog-princess-2 (1)
But seriously, what a dumb and inappropriate statement. My neighbor’s son is going as an airplane for Halloween and no one says to him, “But you aren’t a machine!” Halloween is a time for kids to dress up as something they aren’t so why should my daughter’s skin color have anything to do with what costume she chooses?

The worst part was that after these people made their dumb comments my daughter would once again ask if she could paint her face black and feel like she was justified in doing so because as the lady on the bus shouted she isn’t black and she needed to be black for her Halloween costume. We would explain to her once again that she couldn’t do this and everyone would know she was Princess Tiana because of her beautiful green dress and frog prince. After a while though our daughter wasn’t convinced that people would know who she was and was unsatisfied with our answers. We eventually had to tell her that even if people didn’t know who she was on Halloween or if people made dumb comments, it didn’t matter. Her costume rocked and she shouldn’t let her Halloween be ruined by a couple of people and their not so smart comments.

princess tiana
Halloween came and went and our daughter ended up having a wonderful time Trick or Treating and most people knew who she was. When the handful of people shouted their opinion about how our daughter should of dressed like Cinderella because she was blonde and fair skinned, we just ignored them and reminded her that their opinion doesn’t matter. Luckily she had so much fun getting candy she didn’t have time to be bothered by these comments.

As a parent, I wish I could make all the opinionated people on the bus and other public spaces just be quiet and keep their opinions to themselves. But I can’t. They and their ridiculous ideas will always be there for my daughter and everyone else to unwillingly hear. The only thing we can really do is teach our kids to ignore these people and with the help of Halloween candy we were able to teach our daughter this at a very young age.

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6 Responses to “Opinions and Halloween Candy”

  1. star71 November 20, 2014 at 9:47 AM #

    You know Shannon, not to try and start anything on you page or sound racist, b/c I am not… This just comes from having a son who SO wants to wear Elsa and Anna stuff and can’t get away w/ wearing girl shirts, like girls can get away w/ wearing boys t-shirts… The OLD DOUBLE STANDARD, you know???
    But NO ONE says ANYTHING to the little black girls who want to dress up as Elsa or Anna, Cinderella, etc… Year after year…
    I’ve never seen ONE little black girl dressed as Princess Tiana in ALL my years… And that’s sad… B/C as you said… She’s a GREAT roll model…
    I’m proud that Amelia is smart enough not to want to dress and be like everyone else… That’s SO refreshing…
    There must have been over 50 Elsa’s this Halloween that I saw alone and we were only out for a short time, doing 3 blocks… Yeah… Crazy… RIght???
    And I LOVE Freckles costume… So adorable!!! :0)

    But again, it is sad that people are so closed minded and there is that double standard…

    • Shannon November 20, 2014 at 10:39 PM #

      It took me a month to write this post because it’s an awkward topic.

      The only people who made comments to Amelia were white. It’s hard for me to put into words but it was like they were upset that Amelia wanted to dress like Tiana. I am sure they wouldn’t have said anything to black girls dressing as white characters…. who knows why but I am sure they wouldn’t say anything to those girls.

      And you’re right this does remind me of boy and girl stereotypes. Amelia wears tons of “boys” clothes and no one says a thing but one day a boy in her class wore a tutu to school and everyone on the street had an opinion about it.

      So annoying!

      • star71 November 20, 2014 at 11:09 PM #

        YES!!!
        That’s the same thing I was struggling with when I asked you for advice on the Sophia underwear to potty train him in, remember???
        That was a little easier to do b/c no one sees the underwear…
        But t-shirts, people see… And my boy… Who is ALL boy, LOVES PINK!!! He wants a pink shirt… But he wants the pink shirt w/ Anna and Elsa on it, not just the boys plain pink polo or the plaid pink/purple {his second favorite color) button down… LOL
        He’s also into jelly bracelets…
        We’ll see how that goes over… :0)
        But this double standard is HORRIBLE and almost degrading in away to our little girls… Again NOT to sound racist b/c it’s not… But like you said no one would question a black girls decision on being Belle, Ariel, etc…
        But more pressure is put on our little girls than anything else if we WANT them to succeed…
        Boys can be boys… There are things they can get away with more things than girls can, they don’t have to worry if the shorts they wear are too short and are provocative…
        That’s an entire new post… LOL

        • Shannon November 23, 2014 at 8:06 PM #

          yeah…. it’s so complicated. As I’ve said before I sometimes buy clothes for Amelia in the boys section. She loves Dusty, Thomas, and Simba. No one ever says anything but she has a friend who is a boy that happens to like all the “normal” boy stuff and Cinderella. Whenever he wears Cinderella stuff it’s such an issue for every dumb stranger on the street lol

  2. storywrtr November 22, 2014 at 1:38 AM #

    Things like this are difficult, and some people should just be ashamed of themselves. I’m proud of you for standing up for your daughter’s right to portray a princess who shines with a positive story, no matter her color. She should be allowed to be Tiana just like any other little girls should be allowed to be whatever they want with limits to color…and so much etc.

    The middle youngling went as Michonne from The Walking Dead…and she’s dirty blonde with blue-green eyes. No one mentioned anything here to her about her race not matching, thankfully. Only that she has chosen a kick butt role model in the Zombpocalypse.

    So sorry you had to go through it, but what a great life lesson for A… Glad you took the initiative to show her it’s okay that everyone is different.

    • Shannon November 23, 2014 at 8:04 PM #

      Thanks…. honestly I was soooo surprised about the reactions we got. We live in NYC?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

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