Pretty & Appropriate...or Pretty Unappropriate?

Oh, this was a dilemma. A co-worker has a baby coming soon. Although they are perhaps a little weary because it will be their third little boy, I was quite happy. It seems like everyone is having girls these days and I was getting a little tired of making pink and purple burp clothes.

So it was with some glee that I went to the fabric store last night to pick out fabrics that were not girly for my homemade gift for the expectant parents. I was browsing the blues and greens, the firetrucks and baseballs, the snips, snails and puppy dog tails.

Green is one of my favorite colors, and these fabrics went well together building what I thought to be an adorable theme of monkeys and animals poking their heads out of the leaves of a jungle. Just look at that adorable, fuzzy little lion! As I was cutting out the pieces a passing thought brought a small tickle of dread. At first I brushed it aside, but it persisted.

My coworker and their spouse are an interracial couple. Although this was all very well intended, could it be misinterpreted?

I was horrified when I then noticed the name of the fabric: And then corroborated my fear with the Urban Dictionary: I had --totally unintentionally-- managed to make a baby's gift a racist implication.

I'm going back to the fabric store. If it was something that occurred to me, I suspect that folks who have been part of an interracial couple (and likely experienced sideways glances from the provincially minded,) might be sensitive to the worst interpretation.

How did I do this?? I feel dreadful.

(So the next racially neutral baby that arrives, I hope they have a Tarzan-themed bedroom. I'll have these burp clothes on the shelf for them.)


JK said...

Yes, unfortunately I think you are right. They could be easily misinterpreted. When I saw the title of the post, and then the pictures of the jungle theme - I immediately thought it would be a risky gift for a black or interracial couple. Hopefully the parents would know that you weren't doing it to be hateful, but you never know, they might think you just had an off sense of humor.
Just in case, you better hand those over to me :)

abby said...

We'll happily take them - the pattern is pretty cute. Don't need to do pink and purple for our little one...

Claire said...

Great, and when you burp your babies you can tell them, "Little one, your Aunt Claire made these. She didn't mean to be racist, but she kind of is."
Hopefully, you can at least chuckle at how well-intended but unintentionally clumsy I can be at these things!

Ellyn said...

Hi Claire,

Don't beat yourself up... you are an extraordinarily insightful baby gift-giver. Just yesterday Joe said, "What would we do without Aunt Claire?" as Clara happily nestled into her chair to watch the baby signing video. She LOVES the video! She has already learned a couple of signs from it. You already know how much we love the burpcloths you gave us when she was born!


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