The First Black President and other Strange Fairy Tales

I have such interesting conversations/classes with my students. Last Thursday, my 8th grade Chinese class put on their rendition of “American Idol” which they called “Chinese Idol.” I gave them all the vocab they would need: “Singing Competition,” “sing,” “dance,” “Sounds great!” “Terrific!” etc.  Of course, the more fun stuff had to come up, too, like, “Sounds terrible!” “Enough already!” and “You sound worse than a donkey!” 😀 And then they gave points. Mostly “ling fen” (zero points)! 😛 Fun times. I should’ve totally recorded it.

Today’s conversation centered around Fairy Tales. I brought it up b/c of a connection with Chinese epic novels one student was reporting on. We have such freaky fairy tales in our Western Culture! Take Little Red Riding Hood, for instance. Little girl goes thru the woods on her own to see her grandmother. First of all, there are all kinds of things wrong with this story. She’s little, hence not old enough to be by herself in the first place. What kind of parents allow their young child to walk thru a dark forest alone? Then, she stupidly mistakes a wolf for her grandmother… o_O Does she have eyes? “Oh, Grandma! What big ears you have! What big teeth you have!”  How about, “Grandma, where’d your facial hair come from?” 😛 How can all of grandma’s facial features and body shape have changed overnight?? Obviously the girl’s parents are neglectful and no wonder, since this child clearly smokes crack! 

Some people have a fairy tale of sorts in their mind regarding our new President. I have to admit, I fed into the hype, too. First Black President! Hip-hip-hooray! Well, I’m also completely glad that Obama won the election. However, Barack Obama is actually not the first Black President. Nope. He’s the first Bi-Racial President. Or have we forgotten the White mom and White grandparents who raised him? He’s not only Black; he’s also White. He actually transcends our racial and ethnic stereotypes. He’s a shining example of what racial reconciliation in this country can look like. Make no mistake about it. Obama is more than what we initially thought. Now, Mr. President – make us proud.

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