Last summer on our family vacation to Yellowstone National Park, we actually got to see a grizzly bear. Fortunately for safety's sake, it was from a very far distance while we were on a rafting trip, but I was surprised at its color. I had expected grizzlies to be dark brown, but the one we saw from a distance on a our rafting trip was actually a lighter brown -- closer to something out of the Crayola box like Raw Sienna or Sepia. I learned later that grizzly bears have a range of coloration, from light brown to almost black.
So that left me wondering why almost all the women in Sarah Palin's recent 'embrace your inner mama grizzly' video are white?
I hadn't focused on it the first time I watched Palin's self-promotional commercial. I hate to give it more attention than it's worth -- apparently it's not getting much traction (thankfully) in the blogosphere, so it doesn't look like it's going viral anytime soon. But if a picture is worth a thousand words, is Palin trying to tell us that "common sense conservative" women are mostly Caucasian? Or that you can't have a "mom awakening" unless your skin tone really is pink like her lady elephants? I haven't scanned the video frame by frame, but I only caught one quick glimpse of a face that looked brown to me.
Even if Palin isn't prepared to include mothers across either the political or color spectrum in her efforts, I'd think that as the highest profile representative of a political movement that's fighting against claims that it's got racist members would be a smidge more sensitive to how this rally-the-moms effort looks when we're watching in technicolor.
If she wants to continue down this road, Palin needs to re-brand and adopt a "mama polar bear" theme, that is, unless she's ready to reach out to mothers of all skin tones who want to embrace their inner political wonks.
Joanne Bamberger writes the progressive political blog, PunditMom. Her book about the rising influence of mothers in the world of politics in the age of social media will be published later this year by Bright Sky Press. She's also quite excited to be speaking at Netroots Nation '10 about how progressive women are the key to future election wins!
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