Monday, March 06, 2006
Everyone's a little bit racist...except me, of course.
I've been designing more and more characters for the tween t-shirt line, and I have a question concerning my recent creation: is it racist the way I used this little black (or mixed?) girl to illustrate the word "Loquacious"?
In my client's "educational word" line of shirts, Loquacious means "very talkative", and the definition of the word is printed on the back of the shirt. (Other shirts from this series feature little girls next to other words, such as "Humanity", "Clandestine", "Capricious", etc.)
The thing is, I want to represent all types of little girls in my designs, without seeming overly PC. I've depicted girls with different skin tones for the different shirts, and this "Loquacious" character ended up being black. My client thought, out of her word series, this word would be cute to use with a black girl. I suppose she felt the word would easily lend itself to a little black girl's name. But is that racist - or hip in a ghetto fabulous Lil' Kim's reprazented kind of way? Even though "Loquacious" may sound a little "Bronx", I think my character looks much more Upper-West-Side-Cosby-ish. I created two designs for this shirt, as you can see above, because we were worried that using a black girl for this design might rub some people the wrong way. What do you think? I certainly didn't mean for it to be an issue...I just like drawing these sweet, sassy little characters.