A few weeks ago, a truly disturbing video was making the viral rounds. It showed two young girls being given black baby dolls as a gift. They were visibly disappointed — one even crying and throwing the doll — as their mother laughed at and filmed their reactions.
Mom Kimberly Nachman was among the many who were outraged by the hurtful video, and so she made a video of her own in response. In it, she also gives her two daughters — Aden, 8, and Phoebe, 4 — black dolls. Their reaction was quite different..
No screaming, no crying, just grateful little girls who are excited about the dolls, their clothes and their hair. No mom waiting for what she knows will be a disgusted response, because this mom knows she's raising her girls better. She's raising them to accept all people as people and exposing them to different races and nationalities from a young age.
Sure, there is value and excitement in children having dolls that look just like them, and there's nothing wrong with that, but to also expose them to dolls that look like others in the world is equally important. If we do this from a young age, think how much more open their minds will be as they go out into the world and meet those people in person.
Much research has shown the importance of how pretend play helps children learn, so providing them toys that help them learn important lessons like acceptance and inclusion is vital.
It's a small thing, but one that can make a difference in what is still a huge problem of racism in our society. From blatant discrimination to subtle slights, we have so much work to do, and the earlier we can start, when children are still developing their thoughts and opinions about the world, the better.
Nachman is also petitioning American Girl to create an African-American Girl of the Year in 2017 and hopes the publicity from the video helps to send a strong message.
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