Our nation’s problems are currently on full display
My wife has been shopping for our daughter’s birthday and she just said, “The only dolls on the shelf are all the Black and Brown ones.”
Now, you should know we almost always get her Black and Brown dolls anyway. Once, we had a whole conversation with a family in a target when their kid had to choose a doll and we encouraged them to only provide the Black and Brown options.
It was awkward… and a little uncomfortable… but it was really good. So we do what we can, when we can, to encourage parents to buy Black and Brown dolls. Hell, we give them away as birthday presents to make sure our friends have some.
So why are there only black dolls at the store?
As a nation gripped by the threat of a pandemic, almost everything is in MUCH shorter supply than what Americans have grown accustomed to.
Even food is selectively limited; sometimes based on brand and sometimes based on presence at all. Food is “essential” so while it isn’t what it was in its glory days, it ain’t gone either. Just less convenient and accommodating.
The economy may have stopped but it had supplies already out and about. So, we did what anyone does… we let ourselves sustain on the stock at hand before making more “non-essential” things. And some things just stopped being made altogether.
So when my wife makes this comment… I know the reason the store is full of Black and Brown dolls is that “that’s what’s left”…
When you see it, it can hurt.
So, I’m torn up now cuz…
…I love that anyone who wants a doll has to get a Black or Brown one…
…and I’m so saddened by the idea that this is where we are. That our economy reflects those values so clearly…
…because economics and Black Bodies have always been objective and since Black Bodies couldn’t be exploited completely anymore like they were during cattle slavery, our “White Culture” has decided that those bodies are now viewed as either disposable or found “lesser” ways to exploit their culture and yes, their bodies.
And the exploitation and disposal of Black Bodies happen so regularly in America that we White Folks have become ignorant of how we contribute to it. it’s just so commonplace that it can’t be seen by those not affected by it directly.
We’re on the hook though.
Because White Folks ARE affected by it. We’re deeply affected. Our very soul is carrying around this burden that was placed on us… by us. Somehow our culture has grown to ignore the complaints of Black and Brown folks because, again, we can’t see how devaluing these folks has lured us away from our own humanity.
No one else created this shame. No one else created this injustice. We did. White America. And it was afforded to us by the economic objectification of Black Bodies. Bought, Sold, Mutilated, Murdered, Raped and subjected to whatever White Whims chose to do with them. It is so inhumane that the scars it has left us with has also left us to repeat our mistakes to this very day.
Racism is subconscious unless we make conscious choices.
So. If there’s a choice to be made, I hope you will all buy Black and Brown Dolls. For your kids, for your friends and families kids. For any occasion that calls for a doll to be purchased.
And if there isn’t a choice…
Please choose to Buy Black and Brown Dolls anyway. Rather than not buy a doll at all, buy Black and Brown ones. Which my wife did, of course.
Because something as simple as teaching all children to love and cherish Black Bodies when they play and use their imagination is not only powerful, it’s the right thing for a White Supremacist culture to prioritize in order to try and heal its racism.
As I asked my brilliant wife to review this article she mentioned that she went online today and found that White Dolls were in abundant and “first result” supply. She questioned if her single trip to the store was really a fair assessment of what I have observed here. I think, in fact, it reiterates the entire thing. It is so much easier for our issues to find their way out through the anonymity of the internet. So… even if you go online… I encourage you to shop for Black and Brown dolls rather than sidestep your local store’s possible shortage of white dolls and then seeking them out online.
Image is from this amazing article: https://www.cnn.com/2017/05/19/us/race-photo-series-o-magazine-trnd/index.html