Monday, March 21, 2011

White Girls Everywhere!

Some of our brown baby dolls.
LOVE this! One of Baby E's Christmas gifts---a "basket" of six dolls. Two are white, two are light brown, and two are dark brown. Beautiful!

I was letting my daughter have some rare TV time while I put her hair into puffs. On comes a commercial for Lalaloopsy dolls. I was intrigued by their cuteness...until I saw two things that disturbed me. First, out of the TWELVE dolls, there is ONE who has brown skin. ONE. Second, this doll is clearly supposed to be African American, but her hair is a layered blond bob. Seriously? It's like the doll could be black but not TOO black. Sigh!

On one hand, I want my daughter to know that she has amazing hair and when old enough, can do with it as she chooses. If she wants to go blond, fine. If she wants to wear it in a huge afro, fine. If she wants it straight, ok, but if she stays curly, fine. Weave? Sure. Dreads? Whatever. Cut it super short or wear it long---great.

But we're talking about a little girl's toy. And I want my daughter's toys to reflect girls who would realistically look like her. AND, I want her to have options. So she can only choose one of one brown doll if she wants a doll that's brown, while little white girls have eleven options.

It kills me to see white privilege so glaringly apparent in the toy industry.

There are toy companies that make good efforts, no doubt. And yeah, there's nothing wrong with being white :) or having white parents, but black children need to see other black faces, even if they are just doll faces. And they don't need to be told by yet another source that white is better----white people hair, white people variety, white people options.

I'm trying to instill in my daughter that's she's beautiful, that her hair is fab, and that brown girls are just as special as white girls. I hate the little digs made by the toy industry (and the greeting card industry, and the ornament industry, and...). I doubt they are intentionally trying to ostracize black kids, but it sure seems like they aren't making a strong effort to show that black is beautiful either. There seem to be few companies that try to represent the rainbow of children in our world and give our children options to enjoy playing with a variety of ethnic toys. In fact, I spent hours this past November trying to find a black-girl themed Christmas stocking, but in the end, I had to have one made because everything I found featured white girls.

And with a strong turn, it seems, back to natural hair, black girls need to know that it's ok to be proud of their natural mane. Toys need to reflect true black hair---and in our household that means curly, coarse, and versatile.


  1. I really admire your passion. When my husband and I worked in the church nursery, there was a little black girl but only white dolls. I almost went and bought a black one just for her.

  2. Not sure if you have seen the Tyra Banks episode on "Good Hair". I found it really intriguing and it really digs deep into the definition of "good hair" and what it looks like. You can find the episodes on You Tube (I think it's 5 parts).

  3. I love this post! The clerks at Toys R Us seem to know that there's a giant mob scene every time the black baby dolls go on sale for Christmas. If the store clerks know it, why don't the CEO's?

  4. Sooooo true! When our African American daughter came home to us, we immediately began to notice how difficult it is to find things for that reflect her ethnicity. There are so many things that little white girls can identify with, but just a handful for little black girls.


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