Do Black Parents Have A Responsibility To Buy Their Little Girls Black Dolls?
By Diane Crawford
It is important for African American children to have African American dolls. Child psychologists say that doll play is valuable for many reasons, including self-esteem and ideals of beauty. Children learn who they are and imagine what they might be through their dolls, so it is very important that their dolls look like them, or like attractive role models with whom they can identify. Educators say that these children must learn to love themselves so that they can love and respect others. Building a positive self-image begins with appropriate toys and dolls.
The value of African American dolls has always been underestimated, most tragically by the very children who should treasure them the most. An often-repeated study even shows that black children will choose a white doll over a black one. Caucasians are still largely perceived and presented by the mass media — including children’s TV, books, films and games — as the norm, the default race. The hero may have sidekicks or friends of color, but the hero is nearly always white, although this is beginning to change. A blue-eyed, blonde Caucasian appearance is still considered the most desirable, and African American children pick up on this fact. (Learn more about this at pamshouseblend.com.) Now, more than ever, black children need to receive positive messages — that they are beautiful, that they are wanted as they are, that they can be heroes and achieve great things.
Where can you get a quality African American doll? Today, there is a great variety of African American and other ethnic dolls and toys on the market, including superheroes and action figures as well as babies and fashion dolls. Websites like blackdollaffair.com raise awareness of the need for beautiful African American dolls to give black girls self-esteem.
What do you think BLAM Fam? Is it that important for African American children to receive African American dolls or are we in a “post-racial” era as some people have declared and therefore it’s just not that serious?
Diane Crawford wants you to know that you can buy beautiful black dolls for children of all ages at pattycakedoll.com and sleepysoft.com. From simple rag babies to dress-up princesses, these dolls make excellent gifts for both girls and boys at Christmas, birthdays, or any time of year. Give the beautiful black children in your life a message of love and pride as well as a fun toy they will cherish and pass on to their own children.
Do your parents like dogs? My kids really wanted a dog, my wife wast crazy about the idea, but I really wanted on too. SO I was a lot more lax on their level of responsibility!
Experiments have shown the little black girls always choose to play with white dolls over black dolls. Why do they have such a bad self image and how can this be cured so that they love themselves as well.
It’s nice to see that there are parents out there who are aware of the importance of positive self-image & how crucial this is at a young age. As mentioned in the article, we are seeing slight changes in imagery for children of color, but in my opinion, not nearly enough. I will be 28 this year & recall my mother always going above & beyond to find toys/dolls for myself and older brother to identify with. Even going as far as using her skills as an artist to replicate a “Little Mermaid” t-shirt featuring a Black American “Ariel”. Which I unknowingly would wind up waiting 20yrs to see a Princess film of my same race. My mother & I even had a “showdown” when I was a small child bc I wanted the Caucasian doll (featured in the commercial) & did NOT want the Black American doll…by any means. However, my mother one that battle. So I now do the same for my one year old daughter, who is bi-racial (father of Indian/Asian decent). She has a few dolls (African-American) & she loves them! Which is my desire, that she learn now that her reflection is beautiful! & as she grows older I certainly will incorporate dolls of other ethnicities… As Chanda Jones mentioned, teaching diversity is equally important!
Did I mention that I must search high & low to find the “brown” dolls?
Wonderful blog. I’ve been preaching this message since forever… or at least since I became an adult collector in 1991, but living it since the birth of my first born.
When raising our own female and male children, we made certain their toys represented them. My daughter’s dolls were black and whenever I could find African American action figures, I purchased them for my son.
They were nurtured on African/African American culture, which remained a pertinent aspect of their young lives using books and other media. We also reassured them of their significance and countered any outside messages that suggested otherwise. The two are now college-educated, productive adults who have maintained their sense of self-worth, who do not buy into the fallacy that being black means being inferior.
Before reading the article and just answering the question…ABSOLUTELY! Dolls are symbolic of what is deemed to be "beautiful". Our girls need to know that they are beautiful. I personally think we need to present them with dolls that are …not just Black, but which represent the spectrum of what Black is. My daughter is fair skinned and for a long time, thought she was white because Black people were brown and white people were closer to her color. I had to explain to her many times that we come in a rainbow of colors.
I am going to say Yes, but I also believe that you should buy your daughters dolls of nations outside of her own. Diversity will help her to be tolerant of others and curious to actually want to know how other people live their lives outside of work or school.
I wholeheartedly agree with your statement about teaching diversity. Very true, otherwise the cycle just continues.
Yes I believe they do – if they don't purchase the black dolls, someone looking closer to their skin color who will? We need to support our own.
In my experience, it has paid off to present positive images of our people to our daughter. As a young child, she played with black dolls. She learned to read with books that had positive images of African Americans. We also named her an African first and middle name, kept her hair braided and twisted (natural styles), and discuss issues of importance to African American people at the dinner table. (We rejoiced when Barack Obama was elected president!)
Today, at age 14, she knows her value. She holds a first violin spot in an orchestra with mostly Caucasian and Asian kids. During concerts, it's wonderful to see her sitting onstage with other races prominent, holding her own. And she's doing it with her hair cornrowed! Our African princess is breaking stereotypes everytime she performs in this classically trained orchestra.
Those dolls helped us to show her that our people are beautiful. Keeping a positive racial consciousness everpresent in her mind has helped her to feel capable of anything God has for her to do. This kid won't need affirmative action.