Toddler Has the Perfect Response to Cashier Who Criticized Her Doll Choice

Sophia Benner with black doll
Brandi Benner/Facebook

When I was growing up, my parents did everything in their power to help me see beyond my color, no matter how many times someone might remind me I'm black -- through actions or comments. I can only hope to raise my children in a similar way that encourages them to focus on people for who they are instead of perceived conceptions and misconceptions based on someone's skin tone. But sadly, race is still an issue some people just can't seem to get past. Sophia Benner is a South Carolina 2-year-old girl who had to defend her desire to have a black doll to a cashier at Target, which should be a nonissue in 2017 ... because it's not a big deal.


Mom Brandi Benner took to social media to share this unbelievable encounter that I can only describe as being downright ignorant and foolish. Hoping to celebrate her little girl's success with potty training (pooping in the toilet for a month deserves a reward!), Brandi took Sophia to Target, where the 2-year-old fell in love with a doctor doll she just had to take home.

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Too bad the mommy-daughter duo encountered a rude cashier who needs to be schooled on the fact that white children can, in fact, play with black dolls.

Sophia Brenner with black doll
Brandi Brenner/Facebook

"While we were checking out, the cashier asked Sophia if she was going to a birthday party," the girl's mom writes in her Facebook post. "We both gave her a blank stare. She then pointed to the doll and asked Sophia if she picked her out for a friend. Sophia continued to stare blankly and I let the cashier know that she was a prize for Sophia being fully potty trained."

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Pretty nuts, right? Well, the f*ckery did not seem to stop there, as this cashier just couldn't let go of the fact that Sophia really wanted this doll. Mom continued in her FB post:

The woman gave me a puzzled look and turned to Sophia and asked, 'Are you sure this is the doll you want, honey?' Sophia finally found her voice and said, 'Yes, please!' The cashier replied, 'But she doesn't look like you. We have lots of other dolls that look more like you.'"

This really pisses me off ... But just when I was about to slam my laptop in frustration, I read about how Sophia had the best and most innocent and perfect clapback. As Mom revealed:

I immediately became angry, but before I could say anything, Sophia responded with, 'Yes, she does. She's a doctor like I'm a doctor. And I'm a pretty girl and she's a pretty girl. See her pretty hair? And see her stethoscope?' Thankfully the cashier decided to drop the issue and just answer, 'Oh, that's nice.'

Right on, Sophia!!!

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You know, I don't ever recall catching sh*t from anyone for wanting my parents to buy me a white doll. And yet, the concept of a white child playing with a toy that looks different than her gets side-eyed and makes headlines -- as if it's breaking news. Sophia and Brandi's story only reiterates to me how much further we need to go to live in the "post-racial society" we love to say we currently reside in. 

As much as I'm bothered by this cashier -- and the idea that it's taboo for children to play with toys that cross "racial lines" -- hearing this story gives me hope that we, as parents of the next generation, can plant seeds in our children that will effect change.

We must do better for our children, because we want them to be better than us.

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"This experience just confirmed my belief that we aren't born with the idea that color matters," Sophia's mom notes in her Facebook post. "Skin comes in different colors just like hair and eyes and every shade is beautiful."

I'm so thankful for moms like Brandi, whom I consider allies in the parenting game, who try to make a difference in their children's lives to make this world a better place. I'm confident we can get to a day when children playing with toys -- no matter their race -- is no longer a big deal.

First, we need to become the change we wish to see in our children, and reiterate the importance of celebrating and embracing diversity.

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