Black Friday sucks everyone in, even a second grader. For the past few weeks, my niece has been nagging her parents to buy her a “Baby Alive” doll for Christmas. She even dragged her dad to Toys R Us to pick out her first Christmas gift on Black Friday. See a picture of her selection below.
“Look Auntie,” showing me the doll, “Look what Daddy bought me.”
My jaw dropped. Now, I may not have been to Toys R Us with my niece and her dad while they were shopping, but I was quite sure there were other options. I would have preferred that she chose the Black doll that looks like her.
“What’s wrong? Do you not like my doll?” My niece asked.
“Why didn’t you buy the doll that looked like you? A Black doll?” I asked.
“Because this one is prettier she says,” my niece explains,
I could feel my temperature boiling. I remembered the talks I had with my other classmates at Spelman, where we discussed the Kenneth and Mamie study on African American children’s for White dolls over Black dolls. I remembered how Black girls are given subliminal messages through media and society that White dolls are prettier, are better, are nicer, are more preferred by others.
Luckily, for me, my mom saw the look on my face and responded. Under her breath, discretely in front of my niece, she tried to communicate to me that she knew how I felt. She felt the same way, but I shouldn’t make a big deal.
I left the conversation for a moment to cool myself down and entertain our guests, but my niece approached me later.
“Auntie, I bought the doll that looks like Anna.”
Anna is my niece’s playmate who happens to be White girl with blond hair.
“Ok!” I assured her, “I love your doll.”
With that, I started playing with her, noticing all the dolls cool features, just so my niece wouldn’t think I hated her doll. My niece is extremely sensitive. She doesn’t understand the implications of her choosing a White doll over a Black doll.
Scribbles & Tostitos Readers, how would you react to your Black child or niece bought a White doll over a Black one? How would you encourage that your child purchase dolls of her same complexion that are pretty just like her?
Your comments are appreciated.