Lately, we’ve been seeing American Girl dolls illustrate some necessary lessons about inclusivity. Girls living with alopecia or cancer can customize their dolls without hair, AG hearing aids and wheelchairs are available, and recently American Girl even introduced a doll-sized diabetic care kit. All these customizations and accessories are geared towards inclusivity, so that a girl can have a doll that looks just like her.
Recently, in the spirit of inclusivity, one mother deemed it necessary to buy American Girl dolls for her daughters that looked nothing like her girls.
Wisconsin mom Katie Nachman was horrified when she saw a video of two white girls receiving black American Girl dolls for Christmas, and proceeding to cry while their mother laughed in the background.
Nachman, herself the mother of two white girls, had also given her daughters black American Girl dolls for Christmas, and her girls were “positively thrilled” about their new toys.
“Since December 25th these two have been carried around non-stop, changed in and out of outfits constantly, and lovingly put to bed every night,” Nachman explains in a Facebook post, where she also posts a video of her girls cherishing their Xmas gifts.
Nachman goes on to advocate for buying diverse dolls:
“So as a white mom with white kids, why not buy dolls that look like them? Well, they do have white dolls. We also have Hispanic and Asian dolls. But I think it’s important for my kids to have dolls who don’t look like them because for one, it teaches them that all skin colors are beautiful. Two, it demolishes the expectation that in order to love someone, care about someone, be a friend or play with someone, the other person has to look like you.”
As Nachman sees it, inclusivity begins at home:
“It may seem trivial or silly, but it’s not. Our kids learn about race from us, their parents, first. And white parents have an obligation to teach our kids about race from a young age, so they won’t grow up to perpetuate the cycles of institutional racism and injustice that are eating away at our country from the inside. Little things like this matter, because you are creating an environment in your home that is inclusive to everyone, and invites discussion. There are also many age appropriate children’s books about race issues, from slavery to the Civil Rights Movement, to the Japanese internment camps during World War II, and desegregating public schools. Read them with your kids and answer their questions. And never tell them ‘that was a long time ago’ or ‘all races are the same!’ Because it wasn’t and they’re not. Instead, teach them how to see injustice and do the right thing.”
The post has been viewed over three million times, and Nachman’s message going viral has inspired her to start a Change.org petition to get American Girl to name an African American doll a “Girl of the Year” for 2017. As Nachman points out, since “Girl of the Year” started in 2001, a black doll has not been given this honor.
Big ups to Nachman and her daughters for showing the world what a beautiful thing it is when inclusivity becomes a part of playtime.
Check out the inspiring post that’s starting a movement:
(Image via Facebook)