Like a lot of other people of color, I am frustrated with the lack of minority faces on television and, as a woman, I am disappointed by Hollywood's constant reminder that the thinnest and youngest women are the most worthy. Yet, a few minutes spent with Google provide many an antidote to exclusionary programming. When I have dance parties with my kids, I play Sara Bareilles' cheery video showing people of all ages, shapes and sizes dancing to their heart's content. When it's time to clean up, I play Dora the Explorer's "Clean-up Song" in Spanish. Since Munchkin went crazy last year for Gangam Style, I often play popular Bollywood songs and watch her mimic the dancers.
My kids have already been exposed to more kinds of people than I was most of my childhood. I still remember Gloria Estefan and Jimmy Smits as my first Hispanic idols when there were few to be found. Now there are a plethora of Hispanic actors and singers of all ages for my kids to enjoy. My late father used to play the Gipsy Kings and Linda Ronstadt on his record player and now I can play that music for my kids on multiple on-line music radios.
The great thing is that after watching the biographies of Brooke and her brethren, we got a chance to talk about her French heritage and show my kids where the boxer's Albanian parents came from. When I lived in La Paz, Bolivia 15 years ago, I struggled to find a single paper map of the city and now my kids can look on Google Maps to see my mother's childhood home in Bolivia and their grandparent's home in India.
My kids will certainly be bombarded by messages from media that being thin and impossibly gorgeous is the ideal and that being white and male is most advantageous. But I hope that with the growing American Hispanic and South Asian communities behind them and with the whole world in front of them, they can see that American Idols come from all backgrounds, ages, sizes and colors.