Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Elephant In The Room

Here's a shocker for you. I have no intention of raising my children to be "colorblind". I hate the term, and it isn't something we strive for in my home. For me, ignoring that people have different colored skin is as stupid as acting like we don't have different color hair or eyes or freckles...Why would we do that? It makes no sense, right? So why would I try to raise them to not see different skin colors? 

Because it makes some white people feel better to say it? To say "I don't see color." Why? Why does it make people feel better? Could it be that, in not seeing color (which is a complete lie, by the way) we can also choose not to see the horrible inequalities that still happen in the world today because of it? If you "don't see color" you can not see the shocking statistics of police brutality against people of color? If you "don't see color" you can ignore the instances of racism that happen right in front of you? If you "don't see color" you can pretend that there isn't still a very real issue in this country? It is something that is truly still rooted in every aspect of day to day life, but people have spent so much time trying not to see it that many don't. But if we don't see it we can't fix it, and if we can't fix it nothing, I repeat nothing will change. 

And I can't accept that for the world my children are growing up in.

When I told my children that I'd finally seen leaks of the new GOTY for 2017, the first thing my oldest asked was "Did they finally do an African American doll?" We were all so happy to see that finally American Girl was listening to the requests of its customer base. That finally little girls of color could have a doll released that represented them. (Given my middle child's speech and motor delay, we were also happy to see a doll with a disability represented too, but that's not what this post is about.) Then there started to be more and more leaks of her collection, and our excitement turned into confusion, disappointment, and anger. 

Unless there are some huge secrets being kept by AG, which I have very little hope about at this point, it could not be more obvious that American Girl is setting Gabriela McBride up to fail as a GOTY and a DOC. Yes, they finally released a DOC for their GOTY, but they backed that by giving her the smallest collection of any girl in recent memory. There is no "big ticket item", and the clothing items that have leaked so far look pathetic and cheaply made. A mesh dance shirt, AG? That will survive tiny hands and frequent costume changes for about 3 minutes. An accessories chest that looks like it belongs to either Marisol or Isabelle leftovers found in some warehouse, and another fluffy cat...though I do like her kitten's name and the reason for choosing it that you find out when reading Gabriela's book. The rumors have long suggested that 2017 would be the last year for GOTY, but recent revelations certainly make it seem like AG plans to point the finger at Gabriela for the purpose of the line's demise...and as a probably excuse not to release another DOC for a good long while. 

On the other hand we have Tenney Grant, the rumored first character in America Girl's new "contemporary" line of dolls, who already has a larger leaked collection than Gabriela despite having no set release date. Blond hair, light skin, freckles, country singer, and both excitement and anger surrounding the thought that she will be accompanied by American Girl's first named boy doll, Logan. If you look at the leaks for both dolls, it is clear who AG is backing, clear who they are putting more thought, time, and effort into, and clear that they have left Gabriela to blow in the wind. It makes me sad. And it makes me mad.

As for me and mine, we'll be getting Gabby's entire collection for the first time in the history of GOTY. Money talks, and I hope others will also send a nice, loud message to AG by supporting Gabriela and showing them that DOC do sell, and that we want girls of all colors to feel represented by this company that is supposed to be about empowering them instead of telling them that they aren't good enough. 

This is still a very real issue in out country and our world. In 2016, almost 2017, the battle of racism and bigotry is still being fought everywhere. From our streets to our toy stores. So, no, I won't teach my children to be colorblind. I will teach them to celebrate and appreciate every hue humanity has to offer, and yes, to fight for the injustices that happen to people for no other reason than because of that color. It is our responsibility as human beings to do that, and I fully intend for us to do our part. 


  1. YAAAAASSSSSS! Not only is it imperative for us to teach our white children to see and empathize with the experiences of POC, it's actually scientifically proven to be important. The book "Brain Rules for Baby" it goes over how ignoring this elephant in the room actually creates racism. I've only read two of your posts and I feel like we could be good friends. I use the AG dolls as one of the many ways to teach my children about very complex issues of race, gender, religion, and culture. The dolls have worked, they have provided the gateway to wanting to know more about their stories which I can then use as a jumping-off point for the stories of real people.

  2. I agree 100%! Thank you for the book recommendation. I'll have to check it out.