All children should play with black dolls. But, why? Does it really even matter? Yes! In fact, this is such an important topic that I am going to give you 10 solid reasons why! Before we start delving into this, consider this very important quote by Sachi Feris at Raising Race Conscious Children:
“Dolls, and the play associated with dolls, can help children make meaning out of their interactions with people (and questions about people) both those who mirror their identities and those who are different from them.”
We have the opportunity to teach our kids about race by something as simple as the toys that we choose for them or help them pick out for themselves! Here are my Top 10 reasons why ALL children should play with black dolls:
Black dolls on children’s toy shelves should be the norm because it promotes inclusiveness. Ethnic toys and dolls of all shades of brown and black provide kids with a childhood that teaches them that we include everybody in what we do and what we play. We shouldn’t exclude any color of doll because that is not how the real world works and dolls represent our human connections.
Black is beautiful and dolls that are black give our children a way to celebrate the heritage and beauty of the black community. Let’s make sure that we recognize that simply having and playing with a beloved black doll can help a child delight in the celebration of others who are also black. Kids get excited when they can link their play to real-life people.
This world is not a world of just white people, yet everywhere we look power, money, beauty, and importance are disproportionately attributed to white society. Let’s change that narrative by getting our children black dolls to combat this gross misrepresentation of real life. We need to show that brown and black people are a huge part of our human family and they deserve to be represented properly.
Oftentimes, a child’s first friend is their doll. Wouldn’t it be grand to establish in the mind of our children that a black doll can, and perhaps should be, their best friend? If this is their reality, then as they begin to associate with people, they will accept that forging friendships with black children makes perfect sense, because it is a natural extension of their already-established play.
All children should play with black dolls for the purpose of encouraging diversity. It is easy to get one’s hands-on white dolls...that is just taken for granted. But brown dolls, black dolls, and ethnic dolls are often left upon the shelf, untouched and ignored. This is tragic. Let’s get those dolls in the hands of our children and help them explore their imaginations and create stories that include dolls of all colors so that they know that everyone counts, no matter the shade of their skin.
Black dolls can leave powerful impressions on the minds of white children, black children, and all children. They send a message of empowerment to the members of the black community. When black children bond with their black dolls, it creates pride in who they are. When white children make a special place in their hearts for their black dolls, it changes their bias and helps them use their privilege for good.
Racial tensions are running high and so many people are arguing about what it means to be racist. Black dolls can create the perfect “jumping off” point to start conversations with our kids about what it means to combat racism and understand white privilege. A toy can be a powerful tool for knocking down walls of prejudice. Be purposeful and buy that black doll!
Toys create emotional connections with children. When children associate their playtime, their childhood, and their most special moments with a toy such as a black doll, they are transmitting a part of their heart into that object. From there, they take that positivity into their adult life and their memories of their loved black doll will stay with them for a lifetime, sharing it along the way with the people they meet.
When kids play with dolls, it triggers a sense of caring within them. So, when kids play with black dolls, it promotes empathy that then extends to people that they encounter in real life. It gives them a different worldview by expanding their hearts and mind. Toys are oftentimes seen as “real” people to children, so let’s build on that by helping them feel connected to the black children that they meet.
When children play with black dolls, it normalizes the concept that humans come in all different colors and shades. It helps them identify with people and creates the brain/heart connection that we are all in this thing together. White children won’t see a black person as something less. A light-skinned child won’t hesitate to bond with the child who has dark skin-tones. This is how we make being different feel normal.
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