Children’s knowledge of the world is a byproduct of their environment. What happens when their environment is ubiquitously White? How will it make a Black child see themselves if they never see positive images that look like them? How will it make a white child see others if they never see positive images of other races? How will it manifest itself in their thought processes and life choices?
It has been said that greater diversity in the toys children play with will impact how they seem themselves and others in the future. However, a Toy Store is a Business and not a goodwill venture. If Black Dolls supposedly do not sell in great enough numbers, toy stores logically are not going to stock them.
A Zapf Creation spokeswoman told the BBC:
“Whilst the black version of the Baby Annabell doll was discontinued due to lack of demand, the black version of the Baby Born Interactive doll is still in production and available to all UK toy retailers. However, some retailers take the decision not to stock all versions of the dolls and accessories due to shelf space constraints.”
In truth, if you live outside of a major city that has a large Black community, you will most likely not see a Black Doll in your local toy shop. However, the internet is a big place. We often say ‘we need to support black businesses’. Well, buying gifts for your children can be the first start of that process.
There are many Black Doll suppliers online and at local markets in London. I know, some people have questioned the price of Black Dolls or complained that the shipping cost adds to the price of the doll. However, the price is higher because the demand is lower and postage is rarely free for anything online. Moreover, if a greater number of Black people supported Black owned doll companies then the price would be able to drop as production costs would fall with the increase in stock being sold.
For instance, Taofiq Okoya, a Nigerian doll maker, is selling 6.000 units of his Queen of Africa doll. He decided to venture into the toy making industry about 9 years ago when he was unable to find an African doll for his niece’s birthday. He had also observed his daughter’s self-esteem problem due to her complexion not matching the media driven ‘beauty standard’. Therefore, Taofiq wanted to create a doll that would help children identify with their African lineage while embracing their skin heritage, beauty and complexion.
BBC Reported that Sheine Peart, a lecturer at Nottingham Trent University, said a lack of black dolls “marginalises” black children.
“If I want to have black figures, Lego figures provide that, as do Playmobil, and I can buy a black Barbie and a black male doll called Steve – who’s the equivalent of Ken,” she said.
“I can buy them, but I have to hunt them out if I want to buy them as a parent. I’ve never seen this black Steve anywhere but I’ve seen Kens in the shops – it should almost be side by side.
“If there’s a black child, and they see no black toys, it almost creates a colonial environment and that effectively says, ‘there’s no place for me’.
“It positions the black child as an outsider and not integral to society. It marginalises them. Psychologically, that probably will have some impact.”
This impact has been shown and proven by which dolls children pick up and label as good and bad.
The Doll Test has long been used to question societies stereotyping choices and internalized racism. It has often led to some in-depth and sometimes controversial questions needing to be asked: Why do children see the Black Dolls as the ‘bad’ and ‘ugly’ dolls? Who is to blame when the sickness of racism infects young impressionable minds? Is it the Parents, TV, Teachers or Society?
Young children usual love receiving gifts at Christmas. However, these children weren’t too please to receive a Black Doll as a Christmas gift. Their mother can even be heard laughing in the background of the video!
In our video, we discuss why their reaction is not unique and what it means about society, diversity in the media and the concept of beauty. We compare The Doll Prank vs Doll Test and discuss the results of both:
With that said, here is a list of just some of the black-owned doll manufacturers- Please share so more people can educate their children and support these businesses:
This link is a music box with a Black Ballerina inside
Plus, if you click on this link from Tumblr you will see countless pictures and posts about Black dolls and where to find them
If you know of anymore black doll makers please leave a comment below with their website/name.
Here are some empowering poems for every Black parent and person should play, teach and empower our children with:
- Hey Black Child- Useni Eugene Perkins
- They Called Me Black/Me Gritaron Negra- Victoria Santa Cruz
- Gilbert Arenas says Lupita is not ‘cute’ because she is dark-skinned
Antoine Allen- tweet me @Antoinespeaker
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‘3Cs of Life; choice, chance and change- you must make the choice, to take the chance, if you want anything to ever change. ‘ Antoine Allen
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What did you think?
Have you bought your child a black doll?
Do you think there should be more diversity in toys?
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