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?