for all the random things

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As I’m walking through Target with my little sister, the kid somehow manages to convince me to take a trip down the doll aisle. I know the type - brands that preach diversity through displays of nine different variations of white and maybe a black girl if you’re lucky enough. What I instead found as soon as I turned into the aisle were these two boxes.

The girl on the left is Shola, an Afghani girl from Kabul with war-torn eyes. Her biography on the inside flap tells us that “her country has been at war since before she was born”, and all she has left of her family is her older sister. They’re part of a circus, the one source of light in their lives, and they read the Qur’an. She wears a hijab.

The girl on the right is Nahji, a ten-year-old Indian girl from Assam, where “young girls are forced to work and get married at a very early age”. Nahji is smart, admirable, extremely studious. She teaches her fellow girls to believe in themselves. In the left side of her nose, as tradition mandates, she has a piercing. On her right hand is a henna tattoo.

As a Pakistani girl growing up in post-9/11 America, this is so important to me. The closest thing we had to these back in my day were “customizable” American Girl dolls, who were very strictly white or black. My eyes are green, my hair was black, and my skin is brown, and I couldn’t find my reflection in any of those girls. Yet I settled, just like I settled for the terrorist jokes boys would throw at me, like I settled for the butchered pronunciations of names of mine and my friends’ countries. I settled for a white doll, who at least had my eyes if nothing else, and I named her Rabeea and loved her. But I still couldn’t completely connect to her.

My little sister, who had been the one to push me down the aisle in the first place, stopped to stare with me at the girls. And then the words, “Maybe they can be my American Girls,” slipped out of her mouth. This young girl, barely represented in today’s society, finally found a doll that looks like her, that wears the weird headscarf that her grandma does and still manages to look beautiful.

I turned the dolls’ boxes around and snapped a picture of the back of Nahji’s. There are more that I didn’t see in the store; a Belarusian, an Ethiopian, a Brazilian, a Laotian, a Native American, a Mexican. And more.

These are Hearts 4 Hearts dolls, and while they haven’t yet reached all parts of the world (I think they have yet to come out with an East Asian girl), they need all the support they can get so we can have a beautiful doll for every beautiful young girl, so we can give them what our generation never had.

Please don’t let this die. If you know a young girl, get her one. I know I’m buying Shola and Nahji for my little sister’s next birthday, because she needs a doll with beautiful brown skin like hers, a doll who wears a hijab like our older sister, a doll who wears real henna, not the blue shit white girls get at the beach.

The Hearts 4 Hearts girls are so important. Don’t overlook them. Don’t underestimate them. These can be the future if we let them.

You can read more about the dolls here:

(via mtface)

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It is hard to explain the scale of this protest and just how organized and peaceful it is. Everywhere I turn there are acts of kindness and care. The internet here is spotty so it’s hard to keep track of what the world is seeing but here are some of the things that have warmed my heart in the last three days. This city is a beautiful place and its people are even better. Stay strong Hong Kong <3

(via whimsical-pile-of-mess)

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SIR KEN ROBINSON: Full body education

My only issue with this is that languages ARE NOT on the same level as (or even just below) sciences and maths in most Anglophone countries that I’m familiar with. They get cut from budgets all of the time. After the arts, they’re the first thing to go. Have you ever heard of psychology, history, English (literature) being cut from budgets? No. I’ve personally never heard of a single school cutting them out, meanwhile districts are severely reducing the amount of languages offered or ditching the language courses all together. And only a few schools in my area ever offered languages before 8th/9th grade. That’s how important they’re viewed, that they’re not even available until later in your education (when it’s harder to pick up a language).

By the way, languages are humanities.

I’m not saying that the arts aren’t important; they really are and I’d have died if I wasn’t able to take 2 classes of both acting and ceramics in high school. But languages are NOT considered important in the education system of Anglophone countries. Unless it’s English for standardized testing, schools are dramatically losing program offerings in languages and this goes up to higher education as well. A nearby university cut their ENTIRE language program and are working with my old university to offer their students classes in Spanish only. My university cut Classical Studies (Latin and Greek) as a major and reduced classes for each.

When my province decided to make the curriculum’s main focus “Science, Literacy and Math”, my small rural school lost its music teacher, its art teacher, and its shop teacher.

We no longer had any art classes or music classes past grade 10. We no longer had after school music or art programs.

Thank goodness for Math, Science, and Literacy.

(via pantsdancingly)