Georgia and Chocolate …. racial slur or just child speak?

Georgia has a doll daughter named Chocolate.

When Georgia was two or three we went along to the toy shop and she could choose any doll she wanted.

She chose Chocolate, and then called her Chocolate.  Georgia took all of Chocolate’s clothing off as Chocolate had a t-shirt on – so Chocolate gets taken nearly everywhere with Georgia, in exactly the manner as she is pictured above.  <The plaster on Chocolate’s leg is due to a recent inury….>

Chocolate goes EVERYWHERE.  When Georgia was at pre-primary the rule was “no toys or dolls can come to school … with the exception of Chocolate…”

Georgia would take Chocolate, and when I arrived to collect Georgia most of the teachers and staff would say goodbye to Chocolate, and mention they would see her tomorrow.

I have recently put in a system where Chocolate can only go to school with Georgia on a Monday and  Friday, the remainder of the week Chocolate needs to stay home.

I spent a fair amount of time having the discussion that “Chocolate” is not a politically correct term to call anyone who has a skin colour the colour of chocolate.  But after about a year I gave up, and decided that I don’t actually find it offensive, and I find it “endearing…”

I have no idea how Georgia came up with the term, but as a child she did, and there was nothing about the term that indicated a sense of smugness or disdain or that it was discriminatory.

Chocolate is Chocolate, and Georgia says that Priveledge (our nanny) is a chocolate colour.   She also says her bestie at school is a chocolate colour – but her bestie has a name and is clearly not called Chocolate.

I remember the first time Georgia said “chocolate” and I cringed.  I felt it was so awfully politically incorrect – I recall the rucus about calling “peach coloured” crayons “skinny colour” and I recall that the term upset many people.

At the time I was all nodding agreement, but since then I think I have mellowed to the concept.

Would I have felt better if Georgia referred to her skin colour as black or coloured?

I know I should have a deep meaningful heart to heart with my child about how derogative the term “skinny colour” and “chocolate colour” is but I actually don’t think it is.  I am not going to convince her not to see colour, because that would be a bit stupid.

She can see that we are all different colours – and she expresses this, but she does not indicate that a “skinny” colour is better or more anything that a “chocolate” colour.  The colour is just a fact – the equivalent of her having hazel eyes and me having blue eyes.  It just is.

She does not mean it in a horrible way, and it is not offensive to me, but is it offensive?

Possibly I am in the minority.  Possibly this is one of the things that people have just blown out of proportion in the quest to be politically correct about everything, and maybe I need to see it in a more “factual” light.

Would it be better to refer to people by their pantone reference number?  I am around a Pantone 7401 matte not coated.

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14 Comments

  1. thecolouredfulwife

     /  June 27, 2012

    I was thinking about you and this post yesterday. When I fetched Cole from school I saw a whole lot of Chocolate’s sisters/cousins on the floor (must have been 4 or 5 of them) and Cole was running around with one of them in his hand…LOL

    Reply
  2. Hilary

     /  May 31, 2012

    As Pantone 7515 myself I don’t find it offensive at all. Hell the doll looks like a yummy slab of chocolate. The kid’s just telling it like it is. Shucks I feel a chocolate craving coming on…

    Reply
  3. Hi – Thanks for stopping by my blog yesterday.
    My kids were at a primary school where they were the minority ‘white’ kids. They started saying ‘brown’ when referring to the skin colour of their friends and classmates. It’s purely a descriptive adjective – light brown, dark brown. After all no-one is actually black or coloured or white if you’re being accurate. I think chocolate is even more descriptive, so why not use it. Kids see things so much more clearly than we do!

    Reply
  4. Loretta

     /  May 28, 2012

    Kids will note colour and will see differences if they are surrounded by diversity. I think that is fine and personally I will only intervene if a value is attached to colour. Given our past I think we tend to be very sensitive to these issues. I remember walking past a toy shop and Ethan (he was about 2 at the time) pointed to a “chocolate” coloured baby doll and said – “its a monkey”! I cringed and my immediate thought was OMG I bred a tiny racist. And than he pointed to the similar looking “white” doll and said: ” and a pink monkey”!….

    Reply
    • reluctantmom

       /  May 28, 2012

      I gasped at the “monkey” remark until I got to the punch line …. just the kind of things that kids say … when you are in public … and usually surrounded by circumstances which would be described as tricky.

      Reply
  5. I do agree with you. There’s nothing wrong with how she sees her doll. Children don’t see races like we do, so she is really doing nothing wrong here.

    Reply
  6. People are so sensitive in South Africa. But at the end of the day, if colour is not meant in a derogatory manner then it’s fine to notice it. For heaven’s sake, we are human, and so diverse in this country. What is, just is. Black or white. Denomination or culture.

    Reply
  7. There’s no racism here, we should lighten up a bit and be more like our kids I say. Discrimination has little to do with simply seeing or talking about differences.

    Reply
  8. Janette

     /  May 28, 2012

    Lol, my little one of 20 months also insist that all her babies go without clothes, why only they will know

    Reply
  9. My nanny (and ergo kids) talk about ‘brown people’.

    Reply
  10. I used to try to be super politically correct, that it was desirable to be colourblind. But I have been reading the blog, Rageagainsttheminivan.com (such a good blog), and Kristen, the blogger has two adopted black kids and two white kids. She says that it is not desirable to pretend to kids that people are not different colours, and force them to keep quiet about it. It is actually important for there not to be a wall of silence around the obvious fact that kids are different colours, sizes, shapes. She stresses that it is in fact very important to talk to your kids about colour but to teach them that it is a difference only, not a thing that is good or bad. I am tending to agree with her now, but I do feel that in SA where colour is an obsession that no one can keep quiet about for a second, pretending to be colour blind now and then may actually help people just get on with things!

    Reply
  11. I think that when we try so hard to teach our children to be politically correct, all we really do is make them more aware that there is actually an issue. Before we start going on about what is polite or not, they are just being blatantly honest, in their childlike ways.
    I prefer to let the boys describe things in their own way, unless they are being nasty, if I correct them or try get them to see society’s “correct” way, it just leads to some very difficult questions. And when it comes to the race / apartheid issues, I do believe it should be left in the past. They can get the gist of it when they are old enough to understand the concept properly

    Reply
  12. blessedbarrenness

     /  May 28, 2012

    I agree with your way of thinking Celeste. Colour is simply that, a fact and we can sugar coat it in as many ways as we like in an attempt to be politically incorrect but then are not being derogatory by doing just that?
    I think referring to a colour skin, when there is no malice is perfectly fine.

    Reply
  13. Romaine

     /  May 28, 2012

    LOL Celeste I Loved this post, Morgan refers to herself as being chocolate 🙂 Our kids don’t know race, however they do know we are all different and I think it’s quite cute how they describe the differences. 🙂

    Reply

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