Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Take the Dolls Like Me Poll on Self-Esteem

Take the Dolls Like Me Poll

We’re tracking (unscientifically) responses to the question of how important it is for children of color to have dolls and puppets that look like them. We’ve had the opportunity to chat with several child psychology experts who tell us that all children are fragile and that looking for and finding acceptance is part of growing up healthy and whole.

We’ve learned that when children of color are presented (by unknowing and unwitting adults) with dolls and puppets that look like someone other than themselves, they subconsciously question their importance and acceptance in society. This leads to a host of identity and self-esteem issues. When coupled with the way the media portrays people of color, the subtle denigrating terms that are inculcated in the language children hear, and their virtual invisibleness on television and in movies (i.e. Latino children should see themselves as often and in as many different ways and rolls as Caucasian children), the problem becomes even more serious. This is often exhibited by children of color wanting to look white, not liking their hair or their skin color, or perhaps only wanting to play with white children. In the most serious cases it can lead to self-loathing.

Often parents – particularly white parents of children of color – like to pretend there is only one human race or culture and that their child is no different than any other person. In fact they never discuss culture, race or heritage at all. This is perhaps the most denigrating opinion of all. Every time that child looks in a mirror, he or she sees African American, Biracial, Latino, Asian or whatever their particular heritage is. To say it doesn’t exist or that it is not important is to say the child doesn’t exist or the child is not important. When that child grows up, it steps into a world where culture does exist, it is important, and everyone else belongs – somewhere.  For expert opinions on this topic, visit the Parent Resource Center at DollsLIkeMe.com.

We’re not saying that buying a doll or a puppet will change things – but you’ve got to start somewhere. So, take our poll and let us know how important you think it is for children of color to have dolls and puppets that look like them.

The Dolls Like Me Team

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