Little Black Girls Still Prefer White Dolls!
Flash forward to today and little Blacks girls (4 to 5 years old and Harlem residents) are still voicing a preference for white dolls, despite how many Black/minority dolls are available on the market today. The study also found that these little girls are also associating “blackness” with the word “bad” and other negative feelings.
So, it begs the questions:
What is going on in Black households that many our beautiful children CONTINUE to corrolate "beauty" with whiteness? And, why must Black still "stay back"?
You know, I can remember babysitting a little girl (she was around 4 yeas old at the time) who told me that she didn’t want me to put her Black doll in the bathtub with her. She was having a party in the tub and only wanted the White dolls to come. When I tried to put the Black doll in the tub, she told me that the doll wasn’t “invited.” I asked her why and she told me the Black doll “fights a lot” and was “loud.” She refused to put it in the tub. I’d say the year was about 1988. I spent the entire bath time experience trying to get this little girl to say something nice about the Black doll. And, it never happened! We’ve still got a lot of work to do, as a people.
Getting back to A Girl Like Me, the film is about 7 minutes long and can be seen at: You can watch "A Girl Like Me" in its entirety at www.reelworks.org..
BLOGGER NOTE: I grew up in a household (poor and in the 70s) where we were not allowed to have White dolls because my mother wanted me and my two sisters to have dolls that looked like us. We had an entire family of Black dolls, from the baby to the gray-haired grandparents! We had Black Polly Pretend dolls and Black Dancerella dolls. I don’t remember ever feeling I was supposedly missing out on something, by not having the latest doll—in the White version. Although I will admit that my sisters and I did have one Barbie accessory—the Barbie townhouse—which was used as a place for our Black dolls!
But, it wasn’t just about dolls in my house. My mother also painted/colored any White faces on our birthday cards, so they would look like little brown-skinned girls. She’d do the same with decorations. Our Santa was Black. And, Jesus looked just like us!
Early childhood images and other factors shape our perceptions of ourselves and our race.
What is your childhood experience with dolls and “blackness” as you were growing up? Did you receive positive reinforcement on your race, including on defying standards of typical beauty? Or, was race a non-topic in your household? What do you tell your daughters, nieces, etc. about standards of beauty/appearance?