Thursday, March 13, 2008

All Dora'd Out: Part Two-The Serious & Browns vs. Everyone Issues

ok, so i posted a while ago about my irritation with dora the explorer. mainly, it's because my daughter is obsessed with her and she is slowly trying to overtake our lives. but lately, i've been annoyed on another level. beside the fact that i just don't want to look at dora all over my house, furniture & child's clothes....i'm also annoyed at her presence-period. she teaches the children spanish. so does diego her cousin.

now that i do have a child, i am very observant as to what she does, watches and plays with. and i would be lying if i said i was annoyed that there wasn't a more diverse selection of entertainment characters. there's dora, her cousin diego...

now there's kai-lan, a chinese girl who teaches chinese during her cartoon and a host of talking animals. the only black cartoon is little bill, created by bill cosby.

i love little bill. his family is so cute and all of the people on the cartoon are diverse. he has a white friend, an asian friend and his little black cousin hangs with them as well. the cartoon is almost like the cosby show in cartoon form and i love that they considered the diversity of this country in all of their stories, even tho the main characters are black. i wish there was a cartoon with a little black girl as the main character...all i have to look forward to is disney's frog princess...whenever that comes out.

but it bothers me that there are not more black cartoons or children's shows on tv. dora & diego are EVERYWHERE! they have thousands of cartoon episodes, all types of merchandiing and they even are on broadway. little bill has been on the programming list since august and they show the same 10 episodes over and over.


Chicas In The City did a post recently about the brown & black divide. it stirred up some questions as to why hispanics and black people seemingly have issues with each other. i touched upon some superficial reasons, but ones that are still important to me...mainly that i feel like the US is slowly becoming a larger mexico. when i think about it, i get baffled as to how this country is loaded with hispanics legal and otherwise and how our society has seemed to shape itself around them in many ways. we all know how they are exploited for cheaper labor...but what other reason has the country gone espanol?

it's like, if you are not bilingual in spanish, you are below the totem-pole. i am all for foreign language knowledge, especially for the purpose of personal enrichment. i personally prefer french. it is an elegant language and it is just beautiful. but in society, especially the working world, spanish is pushed and asked for a lot of times. and if you're not speaking it, YOU may get left america.

i am sick and tired to death of having to sift thru spanish speaking prompts, lines, signs and such to get service wherever i go. case in point, i took my child to the doctor and i could barely get in the door because aproximately 12 hispanic men, women and children were lined up to speak to the spanish receptionist. the english speaking counter was desolate. for some reason, this annoyed me to death. i had to say "excuse me" 20 times just to get by. and when i would listen to their convos, not ONE word of english was spoken. that baffles me. how do you come to a country where your language is NOT the native tongue and refuse to ever learn or use it? how does that work? how do you thrive, hold jobs, reap benefits...pretty much do whatever you want while never learning to speak even a few sentences?

i cannot imagine (nor would i want to) go to another country and not attempt whatever language is spoken there. and i'm speaking just of visiting...let alone set up my life and migrate there. picture me: i've moved to africa...."um, ya'll gonna speak english to me" (tapping foot impatiently)

i was out to dinner with some folks and i did not finish all of my food. i do not like for the wait staff to package my leftover food so if this is customary at certain places, i always ask them to leave mine so that i may do it myself. well, a hispanic man came to grab my bowl and i said "no, just bring me a box please. i'll do it." ten minutes later, he came by again, grabbing my bowl. he actually tried to do a little tug-of-war with me. i said again, "no, leave it. bring me a box please." 15 minutes later, he came AGAIN, grabbing at my bowl...finally i said. "NO! habla ingles?" he says "poco". i said "ugh, adios." HOW IS THIS? why am i having to speak ESPANOL in america where i am paying for a service? why does he have a job and not even have a basic vocabulary of things related to said job? i just feel this is so rude....but then again, society has shaped itself to the point where english isn't even necessary for them anymore.



12kyle said...

great topics PCD

My niece is really into Dora. I think it's cute. She's got everything that Dora has sold. LOL. My sons watch Little Bill. I think that it's important that they see a cartoon that is in their likeness.

As for the clash between blacks and browns, I haven't experienced what you have but I can see that it's an issue. I remember going into Walmart and hearing them make announcements over the PA spanish, then english. I was kinda shocked. This was here in Atlanta but it was in a suburb where there's a heavy Mexican population. I understood it...but I didn't like it. English is the language in this country. I took spanish in high school. I can understand it if you speak it slowly to me. I'm all for diversity but there are some better ways of doing it.

PCD...what is your ethnicity if you don't mind me asking? I can't really tell from your picture.

jameil1922 said...

there should def. be more black cartoons. i don't get too annoyed w/the spanish b/c until i went to s. florida, i never even noticed a lot of spanish b/c none of the places i've lived (NC, VA, PA) have a large spanish-speaking pop. i only really get annoyed when like you said, people don't even know english for THEIR INDUSTRY!! i shouldn't have to use another language to order food!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Jaded NYer said...

Okay... speaking as a product of Latino immagrants in the US...and speaking only of my own experience...

Before my family came here, they were told a bunch of disparaging things about American blacks (and whites, but they aren't important for this topic) so they came here with prejudices already. PLUS my family has issues with Haitians, who are generally darker-skinned, so they see a Black person, think "Haitian" and boom, they no likey. Because of this, we were not allowed to go outside except for school. Period. That might be where the Black vs. Brown issues come from.

In terms of your other comments about them not having to learn English and the country accommodating Latinos...why not? Half of this country was MEXICO to begin with; immigrants of all the "brown" nations, not just Latin American countries, come here and do the jobs nobody else wants, and you want them to speak the language, too? Be glad someone picked and cleaned your fruit, or wiped your table, or waxed the floors in your office. Why do they need to speak English if no one even notices them? They're invisible...

I joke about Mexicans taking over all the time; I joke about how "country" my own ppl are up in Washington Heights and yes, it can be inconvenient to deal with someone with limited English. My doctor is Bengali and I have a hell of a time understanding him, so I feel you.

But I think about my grandparents and what they had to do to provide for us...when exactly, in between watching other people's kids, taking in other people's laundry, leaving at the butt-crack of dawn to work in some back-breaking factory in NJ- did my grandparents have time to learn, or care about learning, English?

You learn what you need to get by, and pray you never get sent back home where you barely had a pot to piss in.

That's my 2 cents.

*gets off soapbox*

PCD (Pretty Circle Drawer) said...

@ 12kyle...i agree that there are better ways. i think its just a respect thing for me. i would have respect for a country (if i chose to migrate there) to at least partially indulge in the culture instead of expecting/wanting/hoping it conformed to me

@ jameil...thats my biggest gripe! if you are serving in an least know that industry...not much to ask

@ jaded nyer...i wonder what was told to your family members that implanted prejudices before even stepping onto american soil. seriously, what in the world is being said that brings people here with chips on their shoulder? i've "heard" things about other races, but i take it with a grain of salt. anyhoo, the history argument is valid except for the fact that it is obsolete at the present time. we all came from something else at one point but as it stands, it is america now, english speaking, land of opportunity. now, as far as the jobs they do...well, that is the choice they make. perhaps if they came here and learned the language, perhaps they could progress further because certainly, not all immigrants pick fruits & wax floors. and the guy who kept pulling at my bowl was not invisible....he was VERY visible and he should have understood what is going on in his place of business.

i understand your personal background and opinions on this...all i expect is a minimal understanding of the language if you are a member of modern society. i guess if you just work in a field and never venture outside of your neighboorhood, home or job, then english wouldn't matter. (like the woman in the movie SPANGLISH. she lived here for 6 years, never speaking english because she lived in a "little mexico"...until she went to work for an american family) i don't think the king's english should be priority, just know something. and if you're not watching kids, doing laundry, factory-working and basically being a slave...what's the reason for not knowing some basic english then? the same applies to me and whoever else...i would not move to spain and think that i was reduced to certain jobs or facets in life due to language. i'd respect the culture, learn AT LEAST basic spanish and move on. i appreciate your view, JN.

Queen of My Castle said...

I can totally relate to your frustration in regards to Dora, Diego, and the whole non-English speaking dilemma all too well, and I think all of your points are valid. It seems that America has somehow lost its dignity and will conform to anything that will bring in more money. If it's the Spanish speaking people that will bring in more revenue, then that's what America will conform to. I just hope and pray that my children grow up and start their own businesses and that they flourish, because as it stands now, if I don't teach them Spanish, they will have a very hard time getting jobs. As for Dora, I hate that show because that little girl is too damn bossy. "Stand up. Jump higher, jump higher. Say estrella. Say estrella LOUDER!" Ugh!!! *Rolling eyes* I know I am an adult and cartoons shouldn't have that much of an affect on me, but whatever happened to please and thank you?

sweetabear said...

I certaily hear your frustrations about having to speak Spanish, but you have to take some factors into consideration. First off, Spanish is the third most spoken language on Earth, behind Chinese and English. Spain, back in the day, had many explorers go out and conquer new lands they came across. The biggest teritories being Mexico and South America. You run into Spanish speakers all over the world because Spain had a lot of colonies.

It really pains me to hear Americans--especially black folks--talk about how Mexicans are taking over the country. They are NOT taking over the country, they are taking it BACK. This was ALL their land before the Europeans got over here and took over, from the native Amerinds--what you may know as American Indians and Mexican Indios. I can't understand how any "American" believes that they have more of a claim to this country than the native Indians. we are all immigrants and have rudely stolen the land.

And especially as a black person, there is no excuse for you to be bitching about Mexicans or any Hispanics at all. We are all in the same boat, as far as the white aristocracy is concerned. And just the fact that you can sit here and create more of a devision between us is outrgeous. You do not seem to understand that the powers that be CONTROL you by keeping you in-fighting with other ethnicities so that you do not ban together and possibly realise that they are keeping you down. Stop the ignorance and ban together with your fellow brown people and change the damn country.

Look what's happening in Africa. It is exactly what is happening over here. The white, rich Europens that have all the prime real estate and are mining the diamonds to death have it so that all the native peoples are fighting EACH other in these civil wars that are devastating to the population. Think about if all the men that are fighting each other actually got together and fought to get their OWN land back from the greedy white Europens, imagine how great our motherland could be again.

As for the Mexicans that don't speak English and come here and get jobs--how do you suppose a dirt poor Mexican will learn English in a dirt poor town in a pretty much dirt poor country? It is bad enough that the country is losing a lot of it's population to people that have to leave in order to survive, but do you really think the Mexican government is going to afford opportunities to it's own people to learn English? That would be like just ASKING them to leave Mexico and never come back. Again, this is a form of control by another body of powers that be.

You do not come off as "Pretty" at all. You have proven yourself to not think about what you say and even the reasoning behind it. you like most American's, it seems to me, tout an opinion you are told to have and don't think of why you are saying what you are saying. The amount of energy you put into bitching about how the Mexican waiter didn't understand your asking for a box, you could use that energy into marketing Bill's cartoon. You could market your own cartoon ideas.

Another problem here is the jealousy of American blacks of the Mexican and Hispanic Americans and their progressive economic rise. Everyone on Earth knows Mexicans are the hardest working people alive and are really making it so their children can live and prosper here. The other Hispanics and Latinos here in the country are also in a higher economic bracket than us blacks. Why? BECAUSE ALL OUR STUPID FOLKS DO IS COMPLAIN ABOUT HOW WE'RE KEPT DOWN AND DON'T ACTUALLY DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT BUT BITCH AND MOAN. Like your blog here....

Be more proactive sis, stop making stupid judgments and change the world....

PCD (Pretty Circle Drawer) said...

@ slay me!!! you really slay me!!!

@ sweetabear...hmmm, no wonder how you got here to the pretty circle. nonetheless, first and foremeost, i am not a coward, not close-minded to other opinions, so as personally inappropriate as your comment is, it can stand because i respect my readers and commenters.

but on that note, let me say that THIS HERE mine. i can and will say whatever i please. and ON THIS HERE BLOG, i can bitch, moan, stomp and roll on the floor about whatsoever i choose. i knew this post was going to ruffle some feathers...but again, ON THIS HERE BLOG, i ruffle, i scuffle and say what i want. if YOU NO LIKEY, you are welcome to exit stage left. how dare you try to grandstand on my blog and challenge me to racial elevation and kumbaya because i shared an experience over a food box? my dear, you may kindly take your self-righteous yapping back to your place where perhaps someone cares. this was a light-hearted approach to a subject. it was not a real rant...but since you wish to take it there all i can say is, i care not about what this country was, should have been and two tears in a bucket about all that low-income job stuff.

I SAID WHEN I PAY FOR A SERVICE, SPEAK ENGLISH! you have changed nothing with your essay. I STILL SAY SPEAK ENGLISH IF YOU HAVE A JOB DEALING WITH THE PUBLIC. if you read the entire post, i gave respect to hispanics and any other country or culture, saying that i would NEVER bypass them to do my own thing in their country. but oh no, you want to wage a war of words cuz i had a problem with dude and my box?

well, i regret to inform you that yor opinion of me is as valuable as hmmmmm, it isn't. so i'm not pretty to you? *sobbing uncontrollably* what pains me is when people cannot respectfully disagree with someone without attacking them. so because i'm not going on a quest to churn out a black cartoon, my point is moot? honey please. cartooning isn't my industry..just like waxing floors isn't. neither is bussing tables. so as a consumer, i do have a voice as to where my money is spent. and if i have a problem with staff in an establishment, i can and will voice so. and guess what else? i have this thing called a blog where i can whine about it to anyone who takes the time to read it. now, i ventured over to your friend's blog and there was some comment about long island dudes...but because i'm not from LI, nor do i care, i'm not going to blow up the comments with a history lesson on all of the hardships and contribuitons people from long island have made to this country. i just don't care. but since you cared enough to write....thanx! i LOVE ALL MY READERS, even if they are disrespectful. who are YOU to judge my opinion? you're just as insignificant to my world and opinion as my post is to the hispanics. but THIS IS MY BLOG and i can write what i choose.

and for the record, i never made a complaint about being kept down so that is a silly notion. everyone that has a problem with hispanics is not jealous of them so go sell that somewhere else. your judgment of me is just as stupid as you condemn me for being. so if you don't think i'm pretty, or my blog is pretty...thanx! cuz you still came, you read, and you took the time to write a whatevs. if you can play prettily, you will not be welcome here int he circle so UNsweetabear, get over yourself and YOU go back to changing the world on your blog. i'll go back to whining about my food box....simply because i can.

sweetabear said...

"what pains me is when people cannot respectfully disagree with someone without attacking them."

Take a look at what you just said. You have also attacked me too. But I'm an adult, I can take it.

I'd like to also interject here and state that I was playing devil's advocate, and perhaps went to a more extreme end to your complaints. I was a debater in school, and just like you, I like to provoke thought.

So think about this: you don't have to be in the cartoon industry to promote Afrocentric cartoons. That is just another excuse for you (or ANY black person--I was speaking generally, not attacking personally) to NOT take action. Our people seem to have a real problem with getting into action. Hell, we can't even get out and vote, now can we?

I apologise for putting you on the defensive. I purposefully called you "sis" at the end of my comment to show some kind of solidarity, especially AFTER having written an essay about us ALL working together, no?

But we are not going to get anywhere in this country by sugar coating anything. Our country is falling apart for many, many reasons. One of these reasons is your "problem with Hispanics". Really, what have "Hispanics" ever done to you? Now compare that to what whites have done to you, again, your problem with Hisanics has little validity. You are putting your frustrations out on the wrong people.

As for my Long Island comment, the difference between that and your comments here about Hispanics is that I was speaking from having DATED men from Long Island. I did not say anything about them having to change their lives AROUND ME like you have speaking on the Latinos.

Again, I urge you, THINK about what you say......

12kyle said...

Ok ladies.


Allow me to interject. I've been following this discussion via the ole blackberry and I had to say something.

I'm not sure why anyone took offense to what PCD said. She was merely venting. We all do that. I read it twice and I really didn't see any malice behind it.

I think Jaded NYer made some points and she merely was advising us on a different perspective as someone who is a product of Latino immigrants. I think PCD understood her perspective.

As for sweetabear, I agree that we (blacks and mexicans) are all in the same boat as far as white aristocracy is concerned. However, I think you misunderstood PCD's frustration for bitching. And even if she was "bitchin and moanin", that's cool. We all do that. Respectfully, I disagree with the other points that you made. And that's cool, too. We can't agree on everything. I don't feel that Mexicans are taking over this country. I think it would help us all if we came together for change in this country (sounding like President Obama). In a few more years, Hispanics will outnumber blacks and whites in this country. I wouldn't say that they are the hardest working people in this country b/c we can't forget that we are the race of people who were enslaved in this country.

I'm just saying that it's ok to disagree. But it sounds very personal. And we don't need that. Keep a good vibe going and at the end of the day...maybe you can just agree to disagree. I can tell that PCD feels personally attacked on her OWN BLOG. And that's not cool. I'm not saying that it was done maliciously but that's how she took it.

12kyle said...

@ sweetabear
I wrote my post before you posted case you were wondering.

PCD (Pretty Circle Drawer) said...

@ sweetabear...i responded to you in the same way i was addressed. otherwise, i never speak this way on blogs.

now, i accept your apology. but i must say, your comments come off as extremely judgmental. as if the fact that i am voicing my opinion on a subject makes me some good-for-nothing elitist that sips mimosas by the pool, while cracking my whip at my hispanic house servant. this is a blog so i'm not going to list all of my endeavors and involvements, but i just would appreciate if you wouldn't assume that i am not an active member of society (or even about my own gripes) because i am writing about something in rant form on my blog.
i hear you on your concerns about community and such...but it sounded like you were slinging it at me. as far as what whites & hispanics have done to me....well, are we speaking literally? historically? because this post was not aimed at making a real racial stance in america. it started off as an anectdotal notion. i don't expect hispanics to change their lives for me...but i don't feel i should have to speak spanish when dining out at an american restaurant. it's my opinion and i stand by it.

@ 12kyle...*starry-eyed* thank you for interjecting. you felt me from the jump. it was never that serious. and i appreciate you (especially a brotha) speaking up....oh, and to answer your previous question, i am a black. i don't break down the different components because with all of the mixation, it gets literally ridiculous after a while-lol. so i sum it all up with black-that's the majority anyway :-)

sweetabear said...

Yes, 12kyle, thank you for interjecting....

To further smooth things over PCD (I in no way want to push you away), we are both guilty for reading each other's comments in a very extreme way. Understandable because race is a hot topic with our country. Also, we live in a society that is quick to form an opinion without letting things sink in first. Also, sometimes it is hard to covey nuance in a blog. Perhaps if we were speaking face to face, I would have seen that maybe you were venting, and just needed to blow off steam...

To answer your question PCD about what whites as opposed to Hispanics have done--I was speaking generally again. I just wanted you to see the point that I made before about rich, white society that keeps trying to divide us, all the while hiding behind a cloak of "democracy". That word has lost all meaning here in the US, and I could go off on another essay about how it's funy we are trying to bring "democracy" to Iraq, all the while we don't even have it here!!

I respect your opinions. I can only do what we are supposed to do here in America: try to talk to you to change your mind. I have my opinions too. I don't want you to think that I am shoving them down your throat: we have the American government to do that....

12kyle said...

@ sweetabear and PCD
"Hercules...Hercules." LMAO!!!

Seriously, glad to hear that cooler heads have prevailed.

PCD...I figured that you were black..."the mixation"...funny

"we are both guilty for reading each other's comments in a very extreme way. Understandable because race is a hot topic with our country. Also, we live in a society that is quick to form an opinion without letting things sink in first. Also, sometimes it is hard to covey nuance in a blog. Perhaps if we were speaking face to face, I would have seen that maybe you were venting, and just needed to blow off steam"
No truer words have been said. You both have a passion. Definitely a passion for your people. And you don't wallow in the self pity that plague some of our people. I like that. Conversations like these are healthy. I really think so. If you get a chance, you can check me out at

You're more than welcome to post a comment or 2. We have a good time at the 12th Planet

PCD (Pretty Circle Drawer) said...

its all good...we sprinkled some pretty on it *wink* and on that revoir all!

Elle said...

I don't have a problem with immigrants that retain their language and couldn't give two sh*ts about learning English. I see it as a way of retaining some semblence of culture and identity in a strange land. Just imagine how amazing it would be if Black people were able to retain some language from our native land. I would be proudly speaking it all day every day and saying eff English! I realize that on the job and in every day the life, the reality is, you have to communicate with people. I'm just bitter that black people's original languages and culture were stripped from us, and we were forced to assimilate in order to survive. So we never even had a choice in the matter. I feel like this may even play into the deep-seeded issues between blacks and browns. Maybe subconsciously we are feeling a little sensitive about the fact that they have closer ties to their roots. Just a thought...

12kyle said...

*group hug*

Like the ones they used to do on Martin

Kitty said...

When my family came to this country back in the days, they learned the language. It was a no-brainer. I don't see why people aren't doing as much. There was no "Spanish speaking line" to get in those days. (that wasn't their language anyway but still)

Does the Proud Family still come on? That's the only African American girl cartoon that I can think of... It would be great to have more. And I'm sorry but I hate little Bill.He's so annoying and he really looks a bit too Simeon for me. Just all types of wrong.

browngirlspeak said...

I recently found your blog while visiting BGG's blog. I really enjoy your posts. I have a daughter who i swear has o.c.d. when it comes to Dora and Diego. I think for the longest time that she thought she was Hispanic. She would start talking in Spanglish. My husband started panicking, because even though we are a mixed marriage couple, he is adamant that she will only date and marry a black man. Talk about being a hypocrite; but I respect his opinion nonetheless. I had to remind him that she is only 4, and hopefully soon there will be a little more diversity in the educational and entertainment industry. We live in a border state, so the Hispanic population here is very pronounced. I have been praying for a cartoon that features biracial or multiracial kids. We also tivo Little Bill, she loves it, but the episodes are redundant, I think she can repeat them word for word. It got really ugly when the Bratz came out...i detest them. when will the toy industry wake-up? Keep blogging!

Heather said...

My apologies for dropping in so late after the conversation, but I was just reading your blog (my kids also watch Dora, Little Bill, Kai Lan, etc.,) and I just wanted to note what a big % of the American population Mexicans (and other Latinos) now are--over 25% of kindergartners are Hispanic. That's HUGE. I don't remember exact stats for the other groups, but blacks are probably about 15% and whites <60%. It won't be long before this country is predominantly Hispanic, simply because they have more babies.

I don't think Hispanics have any more or less respect for America than anyone else--there's just so many of them that they don't need to learn English, and so many of them that businesses do need to cater to them. It's just numbers.

There are plenty of places (Chinatown, SF comes to mind) where other immigrant groups have moved here and preserved their languages and cultures.