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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Finding a Bi-racial baby doll is starting to stress me out

Did you know that they sell hair relaxers for little girls? Yeah, you know, chemicals to make your hair straight if you have curly hair. They are sold in the ethnic section. But the pictures of all the girls are Black girls. I guess that's what ethnic means. (Please note the sarcasm.)

Yet, in those same stores you will be lucky to find a Black baby doll that would be way more appropriate to buy for the girls that are pictured on the side of the boxes of those hair chemicals.

This post has been brewing in my mind since I wrote my last post. The same day I read this article on The Root.

My first thought, to be honest, was, "Wow, they had enough Black Barbies to put them on sale? Where is this store?" (Louisiana.)

Ever since I was pregnant with Annika I have browsed the toy sections at random stores checking for Bi-racial and Black babies. And I am continually disappointed with the lack of baby dolls in colors besides White.

Annika actually has a Bi-racial baby doll, which I happened to come across at a used toy store, quite randomly. But other than that doll, I have yet to see any Bi-racial dolls and rarely see Black dolls in stores.

Now, I'm not a shopper by nature. I admit freely that I haven't done as much checking as I should have.

But this week we spent some time at a friend's house who has a 3-year-old. She has way more baby dolls than Annika. Annika was so absorbed in playing with the dolls, holding them, feeding them, pushing them in the stroller, I realized I need to get her more. She has exactly two, and one of them is White. Thanks Mom.

Spending time with our little friend who is well-endowed with baby dolls made me realize that I have been remiss in searching for some baby dolls closer to Annika's color, so I checked at the few stores we visited this week.

I didn't exactly expect grocery stores and pharmacies to carry a wide variety of dolls, but I figured they would probably have a few white dolls and maybe one shade of brown.

None of them had any brown.

I felt, sad. Angry. I wondered if I should complain to the management, but I didn't really feel like it would do any good. The problem is not with the managers at a handful of local grocery stores in largely White Austin. 

This morning I did a search on Amazon and was sadly, sadly disappointed to find exactly one Bi-racial baby doll. Two things. First off, she costs $49.95 and secondly, she doesn't even look Bi-racial! She looks White with brown curly hair. I found this doll labeled multi-ethnic, when I searched for Bi-racial baby doll. Closer to Annika's color, but she comes with a pretty hefty price, at $98. Oh, and she comes with a storybook and self-esteem poster too! Thanks for assuming my "multi-ethnic" child has self-esteem issues.

So, short story, when I look at run-of-the-mill stores for a baby doll for my daughter, I can't find one. When I search Amazon for Bi-racial baby doll, I come up with "Your search did not match any products." But they give me plenty of White dolls to choose from. A search for Bi-racial doll comes up with exactly three dolls
all priced between $50-$100.

I followed a few other links and found some Black and Bi-racial baby dolls. Amazon has several multi-ethnic dolls. Way to cover all your bases doll companies.

The thing is, I don't like to shop. I don't want to have to research buying a doll for my daughter. But it looks like I'm going to have to. Pretty ridiculous.

I know that there are going to plenty of dolls to choose from once I find them, and I'm sure they won't all be so high dollar. But it sure would have been nice to be able to pick up a cute little $5 bean bag doll at the grocery store.


  1. I am pretty sure they have black baby dolls at the dollar store by my house. I am headed there tomorrow to get the boys their Easter stuff. If they have one, I will pick it up for you. They even have all these cute little outfits you can dress them up with. Larry wouldn't let me buy one for Elijah because he said I would make him gay. I would have to start my own blog to go in to the amount of disagreement I have with that statement lol. Anyway, you might have a lot more luck in Detroit finding a bi-racial baby doll. We should make it our mission!

  2. I've had trouble finding a baby doll for Olivia with brown eyes. Apparently, all people are white with blue eyes. Ridiculous. Try Toys R Us. They have a pretty decent assortment.

  3. Tareeshia, I was definitely planning on it. We should make it our mission! I think we'll have more luck, but at the same time, I'm worried because I know how segregated and racist suburban Detroit can be. Should make for some interesting observations. And re: Larry, I have a feeling we're going to have some interesting conversation at your house this week. LOL

  4. Elizabeth, I DID notice that. The White doll Annika has also has blue eyes, which I pointed out to my mom when she bought it. Also, think about this, they are always girls too! I was just talking about this with a friend who has a son. The doll companies have some serious problems.

  5. http://www.dollslikeme.com/store/c/684-Dolls.html



    My son is half Japanese and half white, and I am thinking about how he will not see himself represented in books and toys and movies. It is totally my mission to make sure that he sees as many different people represented as possible!

  6. My siblings and I lived in Papua New Guinea and Venezuela when we were young. As children, we never knew there were different skin colors. We never even thought about it. We’d never been exposed to the concept, so people were people. We truly never ever saw any differences. It wasn’t until we moved back to the States that I heard someone refer to skin color, and I remember it shocked me to no end.

    It has ALWAYS bothered me that the shelves are filled with white dolls. It bothers me even more as a white woman – that it’s assumed that’s all I’d want to buy for my children. I remember looking for dolls to buy for my grandson when he was a babe, and naively went into the stores thinking there’d be all sorts of dolls to bring home – another shocking moment when I saw rows of blond-haired white baby dolls. And it’s still that way today???? Insane. So not only would you like a bi-racial doll for Annika to hold, but I’d want the same for Jack, not just white dolls in the house.

    Sorry for your stress – maybe you’ve hit on a BRILLIANT enterprise. Creating all sorts of beautiful dolls, at affordable prices, for children all over the country. (I’m crafty – I could make all the little outfits if you’ll design the dolls.)


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