Monday, 2 June 2014

brown skin

So it's Monday and I'm allowed a bit of a moan.

I'm a giver of cards: birthday cards, anniversary cards, congratulation cards, valentines cards (obviously only one there!), blank so I can write what I like cards, even e-cards when FantasticoDad is back on Grenada shores. I even love sending Christmas cards with the correct moniker on it - you know Dad, Sis, Uncle, Niece and so on. I spend a long time choosing cards for people, I'm not the rush and grab kindawoman when it comes to cards. And I really, really love getting cards for various celebrations throughout the year; especially in this time of personalised cards where you can get your name, photo, horrible long forgotten fashion disasters all portrayed in digital form. It's great.

So why oh why is it still really, really difficult to get a card with a brown face? In 2014 for goodness sake!

I remember discovering Color blind cards (why the Americanized spelling of colour??) a few years back and was utterly astounded that I could send cards to family and friends depicting someone who looked like them. Brilliant! They were running on for a while but now have since set up their own personalised service. The founder, Jessica Huie, is often in the media winning various awards - and good luck to her and the colorblind cards team. She is indeed inspirational and has developed one of those ideas that we probably all sit around thinking 'Why didn't I do that?' once it's successful. Well, she did and it is so extremely popular, I believe she is now up and running in the US, and is also heading to an ASDA store near you. OK so there's one place...

On a day when I couldn't find what I wanted on colorblind,  I stumbled upon chilli melon multicultural cards and enjoyed browsing through a range of cards with different faces and nationalities. Again you can personalise these cards and there are helpful categories of black, asian, mixed race cards amongst the usual kids,wedding, humour, photocard categories. I really enjoy supporting this site because it seems new,small and just getting started. But more importantly it's another place for choice.

You see, I'm not just looking for sites that only do brown faces on their cards. I want to be able to browse and choose cards for all the different types of people in my life online and in my local multinational conglomerate superstore. I scour the shelves for a card for the 3G and get a bit fed up at times of only having the choice of (very pretty, and I'm sure intelligent) blond haired, blue eyed, white faces on their birthday cards. I know, there's bears, cats, dogs, bunnies on cards too - but if I want to choose a face, I want a choice of faces.

I thought to write about this issue because I was so happy when some (white) friends of ours bought LittleE a birthday card with a little brown faced fairy from Moonpig (so maybe they are keeping up with modern life!) and I was really pleased because it meant this wasn't just my issue; that other people noticed too. Who knows, they may have just chosen it randomly; but I'd like to think they thought it might be nice for LittleE to get a card with someone who resembled her - slightly!

My moan is this - why do we have to search online for basic cards with  variety of images? Isn't it time that shops stocked cards that show a plethora of people? We can get cards for all kinds of events - from births, marriages, deaths, new job, new house passing exams, even celebrating / commiserating divorces so occasionally when I do, on the off chance, need to rush and grab a card for a family member's 60th or Asian couples wedding, is it too much to ask that I can do it without the add of an electronic device and wifi?

As a black youngster growing up in a very white 1980's Essex there was very little in the way of media representations of me. Whilst others may say this doesn't matter, it did for me. I didn't see myself positively day to day as a child, mainly because I was always the different one at school - purely because of my colour - and back then I didn't see many brown faced presenters, actors, authors, news readers (oh Moira how you were loved!), so cards were just another form of media publication where I didn't see myself. I remember seeing card shops in North London, from America, showing black families dressed in African dress and despite this not really mirroring my life in leafy middle England, it was something. I would have taken anything. I still feel this way today, especially raising mixed heritage children. When I walk around the streets of London I see every creed; all nations are seen in all types of TV programmes; colour is almost irrelevant in the world of music; admittedly the publishing is a little behind but you know - it's getting there. So surely the greeting card industry needs to catch up?

Have you seen other places or websites that offer a range of cards for different ethnicities? Do you think it's important that we are able to see images and scenarios of ethnicities on cards, or is it just PC-gone-mad?

Oh and I just love this one sent to me from my BestBudsKads. Great sentiment and image; something to try and live up to each day.
This was sent to me for my birthday from color blinds cards.

Monday Moan over...

Note this note: I'm just putting down my thoughts here, nothing was gotten and nothing was gained.

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