Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Colors and Crayons

And while we're on the subject of art....

In our little “Welcome” packets for new MPM members, I usually include a box of Crayola’s "Multicultural Crayons". It's great for the kids to have the variety of “skin-tones” at their fingertips, so that they don’t have to dig through their entire collection of crayons when they want to make people.

However, if you Google Crayon’s “Multicultural Crayons”, you quickly see that even crayons have their own long and complicated history!

Here is an interesting timeline of the history of Crayola, and when it introduced "diverse" colors: http://toys.about.com/od/crayola/a/historycrayola.htm

Check out this photostream that includes a photo of the crayons - the comments are GREAT: http://flickr.com/photos/nathangibbs/236548470

And finally, here is an interesting commentary (source: "Anti-Racist Parent" - a great site): http://www.mixedmediawatch.com/2006/06/06/crayolas-efforts-to-dismantle-racism

But enough psycho-babble.....kids just love to color! :-)

So I'll close with a cute anecdote submitted by Melting Pot Mom, Jeena:

"My two and four year old sons, Gage and Keyan love their multicultural crayons! They color with them all the time, and they take such pride in picking the right color for everyone. (I still have no idea on why they insist on coloring their baby sister green- is it her poop? Perhaps her eyes? Some tell tale "green with envy" metaphor on how she must be feeling because she has to watch them color, and doesn't yet get to participate? Ah, but I digress...)

Anyway, a few weeks ago, when some friends were visiting our home with their kids, Keyan was so excited to share the skin-color matching crayons with his friends. Haley and Drew, who are half Philipino and half Caucasian, were very impressed at how Keyan drew pictures of them. After rummaging through his crayon box, he declared, "Hey! This matches you!" (The apricot crayon- so sweet!)

His four year old friend, Jaylen, who is African-American, loved the dark crayons, and even decided to "try" on some hair in his self portrait, comprised primarily with the mahogany crayon. "I don't have any hair, but I think I'll probably look good with it," he explained. My little guy, Gage prefers to draw long lines which depict ornate and elaborate scenes from Peter Pan. Since the pictures are so complex, he prefers to artistically interpret the entire abstract scene in only one color, usually burnt sienna. But, as his ever conscious mother, I can rest assured, that once his interest shift to the mirror image variety, he'll have no trouble finding himself with his multicultural crayons!"

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