Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Black Girls Matter

Yesterday while we were out running errands we stopped in WalMart to pick up a Barbie for Savannah's friend who will be celebrating her birthday this weekend. Once we arrived at the Barbie aisle I quickly began scanning the merchandise for the newly released Super Princess Power Barbie.

After finding her I looked to the left and right (as black moms do to find the doll with a little melanin) to find that either I was looking in the wrong place (giving the benefit of the doubt), or perhaps Super Power Barbie was only released in the "blond version" as my daughter put it.



This hit me pretty hard. Here I am in the Barbie aisle of a major retailer in a major US city standing in front of a display of dolls that look nothing like this country or the city that I live in. I was equally as frustrated at the lack of hispanic dolls. After all, we do live in San Antonio where the number of Hispanic little girls far out weighs the number of African American girls.

So, is this our reality? I talked to a few friends about my disappointment yesterday. We agreed that reaching out to the company about this issue would probably fall on deaf ears but that it wouldn't hurt to try. I decided that tweeting the company to ask for a release date of an African American Super Power Barbie would be a nice way of saying, "When is black Super Power Barbie coming out?". Crickets. I haven't heard anything back from them. Not yet anyway.

I hesitated to blog about our experience yesterday because I didn't want to sound like another black woman bringing up race and the young black girl's struggle to feel beautiful.

But then I woke up this morning to see Guiliana Rancic's comments on Zendaya's faux locs she wore to the Oscars...



Zendaya looked beautiful. Gorgeous. Radiant. The fact that Guiliana made that comment doesn't surprise me at all. It just further confirms why yesterday on the Barbie aisle was so important. People in the media will continue to make jokes at the expense of a young black girl's self-esteem. Because of this, I must be diligent in my efforts as a mother to constantly surround my daughter with positive images and symbols of black beauty. Sadly, Super Power Barbie isn't one of them.

From now on I have chosen not to support any doll that does not represent the beauty that is black. We had a tough family conversation last night about how important it is for Savannah to see herself in the dolls that she plays with. Children do not see color and that's a good thing. However, as a Mom who wants my daughter to understand at an early age that she is important enough to have dolls made that look like her, I will no longer be purchasing dolls that do not.

If Guiliana Rancic can get on a  major television network and make horrible comments about a young girl then I can make the decision to no longer give my money to companies that do not think enough of my daughter to give her a Super Power or career. Because let's face it, Barbie doesn't always give us jobs either.

All little girls are super. Zendaya's hair was lovely. Stand up for something and let your daughter's see you embracing their culture and who they are. They look to us first. If we are okay with settling they will be to. I have never been one to settle for anything and I do not plan to start now.

What are your thoughts on Guiliana's comments on Fashion Police? How do you approach the topic of race at home?

12 comments:

  1. My daughter is unaware of a difference in races. There isn't one. Everyone is different. God made us all. She plays with black dolls the same as white. We recently purchased a black Christmas Barbie because it was the only one on the shelf. Up till now I never gave it any thought. She loves it the same. The doll is beautiful and has the dress that she prized when she first saw it. We come from a family made up of black, white hispanic, and asian. We celebrate each others cultures. Skin color is treated the same as hair color or eye color. Just another way that God made us.

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    1. I think that's great that your daughter is getting exposed to so many different cultures. My daughter received Dora and all of her new friends for Christmas and she loves them. I think teaching children to embrace other cultures is important but I also think it is equally as important to make sure they know and have an appreciation for their own culture and what makes them special.

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  2. I have approached the topic of racism with my kids because they are the only blacks in their classrooms. They seem oblivious to it now and I hope they can kind of stay that way but I know better. I get so frustrated when people try to say this doll business isn't an issue. I told my white neighbor when was the last time you went in a store and couldn't find your child a doll that looked like her. She said she never thought about it. I think the oblivion is due to the fact that they don't truly live it so it isn't a priority, my thought then is be quiet about these things not happening when you haven't bothered to pay attention.

    I think Guiliana's response wasn't racial she was just stating her opinion. I've seen white girls with their hair like that. I think there are bigger fish to fry. I do think based on her age the weed comment was inappropriate

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    1. What bothered me so much about Fashion Police was the fact that they had praised Kylie Jenner for wearing locs just a couple weeks ago. I also (for some reason) expected more from Guiliana. She doesn't have to "go there" to keep her job or make that show more entertaining.

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    2. We moved from the DMV to the suburbs of Philly (Hunyingdon Valley) and in our neighborhood my children are the only (please don't bash me) black children.

      Because they didn't grow up here they don't speak the way the others do or dress the way they do. My oldest is the only one who sees color because she is 12. But my 9 and 6 year old don't know the difference they just seeach friends.

      But recently my daughter wanted a doll and she wanted a black doll and there was none. When we went shopping for perms, grease and other black hair products our stores had NONE. My mother was taken by surprise because of this. They didn't even know what grease was they took us to the cooking oil (no lie).

      I agree that we should not support stores or brands that do these type of things.

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    3. When we moved here it took me FOREVER to find a "regular" beauty supply store. Sally's is okay but I prefer neighborhood beauty supply stores so I feel your pain about the hair products.

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  3. I think Guiliana's comment was racial motivated. A lot of people don't feel like they are racist but they believe in racial sterotypes. Which in my opinion makes you a bit racist. It's not hatred, but it's racism.

    It is sad that in America in 2015 you can't find dolls of color on the shelves at a retailer in a large city.

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    1. Whether she said it with bad intentions or not you just don't say things like that;especially when the girl is 18. Yeah, the doll situation is crazy. They still haven't tweeted me back. I just don't understand why they can't represent all people when they release the new dolls.

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  4. Its the WAY she said it. It wasn't to be comedic at all. And Joan would have been off the hook for a comment like that. I am glad this was brought up again as I think bout locs of my own. We should have choices in our dolls but these companies dont they they will sell. I believe the image in dolls are was some girls grow up hating their hair. It's too rarely exposed...making fros and coils odd.

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    1. Exactly. It was rude and uncalled for. I agree. I wish there were more choices out there.

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  5. I think your decision is a wise one :)

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    1. Thank you so much. I appreciate that.

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Thank you for taking the time to chat with me!