Why I make sure I buy Black Dolls & Multicultural Dolls? PART 1

Like many parents, I’ve made a conscious effort to buy dolls for my 3 year old that are African and that look like her. The majority of my daughters dolls are black.. Some of the first toys bought for our girls are dolls. Dolls have a great way of teaching children about themselves and the fascinating world around them. Not only does doll play benefit a child’s fine motor skills, social skills, emotional skills, language skills and even problem solving skills but it allows for children to begin to see their own place in the world. As they are beginning to see themselves in the world developmentally they are also beginning to see themselves in the world visually. Representation matters as it can be life changing.

Our children are bombarded with fashion dolls that emphasize the stereotypical look of “ tall, Caucasian and skinny with over-exaggerated features and makeup. My 3 year old daughter knows that she has a brown face and believe me I was in shock when I heard her say it. she said it so innocently; I think we take for granted how observant and intelligent our children are, I just wasn’t expecting her to notice so early.

Multicultural dolls can mirror one’s cultural identity and help children develop a healthy self-image of themselves. As we live in a multicultural society, its important for toys to rightfully reflect the diversity. When a child sees a doll that looks like them they feel like they really matter in the world. Role-playing is a natural part of doll play and while they are playing the mother role, they should know there is nothing wrong with their color or culture.

Having a variety of ethnic dolls is something I will endeavor to create for my daughter because it’s the easiest way to show her that the world is full of diverse people and they are all equal. Our children’s toys will be used to create narratives and so we have to careful with what we provide them with.

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