Why is it Still So Hard to Find Black Baby Dolls?

BY: - 29 Mar '13 | Parenting

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Last week I went into a popular big box store to buy my six-year-old cousin a birthday gift. With a four-year-old son and a teen daughter, its not often that I venture into the pink aisles.  And since I don’t know what’s hot in little-girl-world these days, my default is usually clothes or books. But this day, I decided to live on the edge.  After browsing through the selection of jewelry crafts, which I also like to call “torture” (parents don’t buy kids toys that include 8 million beads!) I headed over to look at the dolls.

To my surprise, in an aisle full of dolls, with them crowding both sides of the aisle, there was a total of zero black dolls. Not even a doll that was semi-brown that could pass. There was not one.

I don’t have anything against white dolls, but in a culture where even now little black girls get to see very few positive reflections of themselves in the media, I like to be able to provide those. It is one thing if I go into the store and see a white veterinarian doll and a black surfer doll and decide to buy the white one because I like veterinarians better. But I at least want to be able to choose a black doll, and I didn’t even have the option.

It would have been maybe more comforting had I happened to be shopping for a black doll in a predominately white area, which in this store, just outside of Baltimore, Md., also is not the case.

Instead, I think it is part of a sobering reality: that even in 2013 with a black family in the White House and black female entertainers dominating the pop charts, that black girls are still being presented with the message in both subtle and overt ways that they are at best undesirable and at worst don’t exist.

Undoubtedly, there will be someone who comes across this post and deems my stance as racist. To that person I will say this: You remember that time you were white and went into the store and only had black dolls to choose from? Need more time to think about it? I’ll wait….

In the meantime, after being annoyed, I decided that I didn’t want to just post the picture on Instagram and complain to my friends. I wanted to voice my concern in a way that would at least force someone to respond. I wrote a letter to the company—and am waiting for a response–asking for answers for why the shelves in their stores don’t reflect the world around them. Maybe there is some answer that I haven’t thought of, and I’m not going claim to know what it is, but I think it’s time that we all started to ask.

Do you have a hard time finding black dolls for your children? Does the race of the doll matter to you? Should it?

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About the author

Aja Dorsey Jackson wrote 207 articles on this blog.

Aja Dorsey Jackson is a freelance writer and marriage educator in Baltimore, Maryland and author of the blog and book, Making Love in the Microwave.


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6 WordPress comments on “Why is it Still So Hard to Find Black Baby Dolls?

  1. Julie C.

    It really seems to depend on where you shop. If I shop in Prince George’s County, a predominantly-Black DC suburb, I can find a decent selection of African-American dolls. If I drive 10 miles north to Howard County, which has some diversity, but is still predominantly-White, there are hardly any dolls of color on the shelves. What I’d really like to see are more Black dolls with natural hair. How about a doll that can rock some cornrows as well as my little girl does!

  2. Annette Nick

    I know that they make African American dolls, they just don’t make enough of them. They are sold very quickly because everyone buys them, not just African Americans, so that they have a mix of all races. The manufacturers need to be bombarded with requests, maybe that will increase the production of them.

  3. Frances

    I agree with all of you. I have been in Wal-Mart in the store and online and have been unable to find the black doll (my life) that I have been looking for, I saw two black ones in the store and they are both dressed as ballerine.Since one of my children like gymnastic and the other played soccer, I was looking for the ones dessed as that, but so far has been unsuccessfu in finding the doll.

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Money Monday: How To Make Your Kids Smart With Money

BY: - 1 Apr '13 | Money

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We want to raise kids who can effectively manage their money, avoid debt, and build a solid financial future, but it seems we’re failing in raising money smart kids.

A nationwide survey of first-year college students, conducted by the firm Inceptia, found that 89 percent of respondents scored the equivalent of a “C” or below when it came to financial literacy.

And unfortunately, they’re developing a false sense of confidence. Two thirds of students in the Inceptia survey indicated they felt confident about their ability to manage their own finances.

Yet, despite the dismal results, there is good news. It seems there are things parents can do to help their kids become financial superstars. One of the most important is teaching children about the power of goals.

As Inceptia discovered, those college students who set clear financial goals were more likely to exhibit sound financial behaviors. For example, 44% of students with financial goals reported that they tracked their spending, compared to only 22% who had no financial goals.

Similarly, only 13% of students without goals had created a budget for their academic year, while 45% of students with financial goals had created a budget for the year.

But here’s the kicker, the numbers were even more impressive for those students who actually wrote down their financial goals. This supports previous studies proving written goals are more effective than non-written. It seems the act of actually writing out a goal increases the chances of it being fulfilled, and in the case of the Inceptia study, also increased positive financial behavior.

While 45% of the surveyed students with financial goals created a budget, 70% of those who actually had written goals created a budget.

What does this mean for raising money smart kids? Actively thinking of and writing out financial goals could positively influence your child’s money management behavior.

Have your child write down their money goals, whether it be saving for a new bike or video game. Then help them write a plan for accomplishing their financial goals. In the process you’ll be teaching them a crucial skill they’ll need to to become financial superstars.

BMWK, do you create financial goals for yourself? Have you discussed the importance of goal-setting with your kids?

About the author

Alonzo Peters wrote 298 articles on this blog.

Alonzo Peters is founder of MochaMoney.com, a personal finance website dedicated to helping Black America achieve financial independence.


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