Why are black dolls important? Why do black dolls matter?
“Dolls, and the play associated with dolls, can help children make meaning out of their interactions with people (and questions about people) both those who mirror their identities and those who are different from them.” - Sachi
Dolls are important first touchpoints in the lives of our children. A doll is often a child's first best friend. We have the opportunity to teach our kids valuable life lessons as skills with something as simple as the toys that we choose for them or help them pick out for themselves!
Here are 6 reasons why black dolls matter and why black dolls are important for ALL children not just black children.
Dolls are symbols of beauty. When a black girl has a black doll with looks and features like hers, it creates a sense of validation and pride in her heritage. This is an important building block in her early stage years. Representation matters. Toys affect the way children see themselves, which in turn affects how they feel about themselves in the short and long-term. It's important to allow them see and imagine all the amazing things they can be.
When a girl plays with her doll, she uses her imagination and creativity to bring her dreams to life, and sets the foundation for her future. When children are empowered to be creative, it opens up their minds to countless possibilities for their lives. A black doll for a young black girl is an empowerment tool because she uses that doll in play to create a vision for her future. For children of other races, playing with black dolls allows them to create spaces in their hearts and minds for black people and helps eliminate bias.
3. Inclusion and Normalization
Black dolls on children’s toy shelves are important because this promotes diversity and inclusion and a global world-view which is important to instill in our children early. Ethnic toys and dolls of all shades of brown and black provide kids with a childhood that teaches them that everyone should be included and have a voice. All children should have and play with black dolls to normalize and project a reflection of the world around them. This teaches them empathy and acceptance of others.
A doll is often a girl's first best friend. Now she has a companion she can love, have fun with, talk to, learn with and expand her imagination in so many ways. As she learns to relate with her friend, this will spill over to real life interactions. Dolls are also great bonding tools for real-life friends to create stories and memories.
4. Self-Esteem and Confidence
By having a doll she sees herself in, young girls start to embrace and celebrate the attributes that make them feel special. This is a critical building block to a girl's social-emotional development. When a girl believes in herself, she is unstoppable and will achieve anything she puts her mind to. Healthy doll play for a black girl with a black doll that she can relate to is a great way to affirm her and continue to build and increase her self-esteem and self-confidence.
A doll is an incredible teaching tool for social-emotional learning, character development and life skills, like self-care, self-awareness, compassion, creativity, empathy, social interactions, storytelling and so much more. Children are apt to absorb more when they are learning through play, which is why her black doll can encourage things like healthy hair care routines, literacy and a love for reading, and much more when they are incorporated into the actions required.
Are there other reasons you have your children play with black dolls? Do you agree that black dolls are important for all children? We would love to hear your thoughts.
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