That Time My 11 Year Old Nibling Connected Representation in ‘The Little Mermaid’ to ‘The Cross Connection’ on MSNBC

My nibling,11, hanging with me this AM while The Cross Connection with Tiffany Cross on mute. He watched while we chatted, then said “Everyone on this news show looks like me.”

He’s Black. He said “Is this like the new #LittleMermaid for adults?”

So there you go Princess Tiffany D. Cross

Follow up – we had a good chat abour Ariel, casting, the impact it would have had on him when he was 6 or 7, what his friends thought, and the reaction videos (to the trailer) posted by parents. He commented that the parents cried. I said I cried, too. He said to me “You know Ariel isn’t actually human, Aunt Sue. She’s a mermaid. The important thing is her red hair.”

Then he asked me to turn on Disney + and we watched some Ms. Marvel together. He was also impressed with her, but vigorously defended the stance that Scarlet Witch was more powerful than Carol Danvers. I pointed out that it the two top most powerful superheroes were both women, that’s cool.

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He agreed and then said Phoenix was also a woman and probably Black Panther would now be a woman. I’m really glad I’m staying current on both the adult news via MSNBC and my pop cultural content.

He just turned 11 on Thursday. He was here to help with foster kitten socialization. He’s a good kid. Little Taggert agrees – that’s the 11 week old kitten asleep on his arm.

I’ve been talking with Elijah and his older brother Josiah about all sorts of social justice issues since they were very little. They are very comfortable talking with their parents who actively encourage them to do so, but it doesn’t hurt to have an aunt who doesn’t panic when discussing their very real (and many) experiences of racial injustice in their day to day lives. Or deny it. It is important to validate their experiences and do my best to listen and seek out the information they need, not pretend everything is okay. They live a life I’ll never experience and I appreciate their willingness to talk openly about it with me. That’s an indicator of trust that can’t be replicated.

I fear for them every single day, but I also use that fear and my love for them to fuel this work that I can do.

Our relationship isn’t just these conversations. We share meals, adventures, cat stories, movies, holidays, and lots of everyday moments. Hence, Elijah coming over to help socialize our most current crop of foster kittens while his brother is texting me about a secret industrial art project gift for Aunt Laura.

Now if I could get them excited about the news. We need a Tiffany Cross/Jonathan Capehart/Joy Reid edited graphic novel for youth …

Elijah, 11, helping socialize foster kitten, Taggert, 11 weeks.


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