There is something to be said for being able to identify media figures who look like you. I still remember once overhearing a fellow KAD’s mom say, “Caitlin just started asking me why she didn’t have more yellow clothes. I couldn’t figure out why until she said she liked the yellow Power Ranger.” Caitlin and I were in third grade at the time and Power Rangers were all the rage. I purposely woke up half an hour early every school morning just to watch it. It was campy, action-packed without being scary and it had an Asian in it. Yes. Trini, the yellow ranger. (Did someone have a sense of humor or what?) I know this is a very random anecdote to remember, but it goes to show that children do pay attention to their representation in the world around them. I remember watching Captain Planet and wanting to be like Gi who was an Asian character in the cartoon. Her element was water, so you can bet I eventually procured a Planeteer water ring and wore it proudly. These little things meant something. Why else would I remember them, right?
I guess what really got me thinking about this is the onset of Halloween today. The costume options out there are full of stereotypes galore. Do you ever consider the race of a character when choosing what to dress up as? Surprisingly, I did not choose to be Trini or Gi for Halloween in third grade. I dressed up as a Native American girl. Classmates never compared me to Trini or Gi, but they did comment that I looked ‘kind of’ like Pocahontas. Hey, I took what I could get. Better that you slightly resemble someone than no one at all. Another year I considered being a lady from the colonial era, but then I thought, “Wait, were there Asians in the US at that time? Probably not.” Yes, this is me and my random, race-involved thought process. Apparently I had no problem being a Native American for Halloween, but being an anachronism was clearly out of the question.
Anyways, I just wanted to post a little food for thought. I’m so nostalgic now! I’m not dressing up this year, but I’m suddenly liking the concept of a Gi Planeteer costume. The yellow ranger would be way too hard to pull off (not to mention most Power Ranger costumes are made for children). Oh heck, I think it would just be fun to be a zombie. Zombies surely represent all racial and ethnic backgrounds. I mean, when the zombie apocalypse comes, no one is safe.