Angelina Jolie's daughter Vivienne was recently photographed out with her mom and brother Knox. What caught my eye was what was in Angelina's hands: A doll. But not just any doll. It's an African-American doll. And Vivienne is clutching it like it's her favorite toy. I doubt this was something done on purpose: Angelina probably buys all kinds of dolls for her daughters, Shiloh, Zahara and Vivienne, and since Zahara is of Ethiopian descent, no doubt Angelina wants dolls around that reflect Zahara's looks too.
Vivienne probably doesn't think this doll is any different from herself, just as I doubt she perceives her sister Zahara as any different than she is. I wasn't a doll person growing up, but as a kid, I loved TV shows with African-American stars.
The Jeffersons and What's Happening were two of my favorite shows and I honestly can't remember sitting there thinking, Those are black people and I'm a white person; they're different colors than me. I just remember loving that the characters were funny.
But Vivienne's doll got me wondering whether Caucasian families should buy their kids African-American dolls to play with on purpose, even if those kids don't ask for them, just to give them a more broad and multicultural view of life early on.
I don't think it's a bad idea. Bring home a doll with red hair, black hair, blonde hair, an Afro. Mix it up. What if you can only afford one doll that year and the kid wants blonde- blue-eyed Barbie? Well, I guess you don't want to make your kid upset at Christmas, but I'd probably spring for an African-American doll too and add it to the collection whether or not my kid asked for it.
I think it's important that young girls see all types of female bodies and faces when they are young so that they don't get one set beauty "ideal" in their head. The indoctrination into what girls should look like starts very early. I think Angelina has a great idea here.
Do you give your kids dolls that reflect different races?
Image via Splash News