Dare to Ask: Agreement can also be hard to find
By Phillip Milano
For a class assignment I'm asking students to shop for items hard to find in
mainstream culture (for example an Asian Barbie, a book with a lesbian main
character, etc.). Any suggestions?
Sarah, 32, white, Mankato, Minn.
Well, lesbians as main characters in novels aren't very hard to find
nowadays. Just off the top of my head I can think of two: "Fire Logic" and
Itsuwari, 16, male, Allyn, Wash.
Non-standard-size clothing - especially stylish clothes for women 5 feet 4 or
shorter - is very difficult to find. Sure, there are petite stores or sections
at every mall, but selection is often awful. Another thing that is hard to find
in mainstream culture: Asian characters in movies or television who are like
Charlotte York from HBO's "Sex and the City." Asians are usually portrayed
either as restaurant/grocery store workers or, if wealthier, doctors.
Cynthia, 28, Asian, Toronto, Canada
Movies with real female and minority characters. How about any movie where
the black/Latino guy isn't either a thug or president of the United States? Or
where the women aren't emotional basket cases or rigid? Where all the Asians
aren't liquor store owners or math geniuses? Most people don't live either
extreme, but you rarely see "normal" portrayed.
Dot, Los Angeles
I'd love to see a lesbian Barbie doll and a gay Ken doll. Can you imagine the
wardrobe and accessories and companion dolls?
Shirley, 50, white, St. Louis
Ask your students to find an ATM that does not ask you if you want to conduct
your transaction in Spanish. Or, ask your students why local merchants should
stock merchandise targeted for minorities when there are none within 100 miles
Cal, 47, white, Lakewood, Calif.
How about a mainstream journalist who doesn't think the existence of guns is
the cause of all violent crime?
Ann, 40, white, Kansas City, Mo.
We know you readers will want to stampede out now and do all your shopping in
one trip, but try as we may, we've had a hard time locating a single megabox
store that will satisfy all your demands at once as you shop for lesbian novels,
clothes for short ladies and accessories for gay Ken dolls, while providing an
all-Anglo-all-the-time ATM to spit out more cash for your sudden
non-Obama-resembling president/non-Latino gang-banger DVD cravings.
It's enough to make us want to get violent in a non-firearm-caused way.
ADD OR READ MORE COMMENTS
This is your column. You can help it grow! If you like "Dare to Ask,"
please call or e-mail your favorite newspaper or web site and urge them to start
running it. It's syndicated by
Phillip Milano, author of I Can't Believe You Asked That! (Perigee),
moderates cross-cultural dialogue at Y? The National Forum on People's
Differences. Visit www.yforum.com to submit questions and answers. Send general
column comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also hear his
podcasts or watch his