a girl and her doll

***WARNING***  the following post contains my rant that could make you very angry at me.  but hopefully, you will understand my POV and be mad at “american girl” with me.  

it’s been very hard for me to get to this place.  minime has an american girl doll.  it was a present from her beloved grandma. 

i don’t care for the dolls.  oh, i know they have lots of learning opportunities and that’s great.  but they also stick the culture of african-americans into the typical slot of “slaves” (or in this plot – former slaves).  it’s very subtle and not something i would think of most people even thinking about, but i do.  why, you ask??

well, over and over again, when you see images of blacks in american history – we are portrayed as slaves.  we were “freed” and civil rights came along – and now all is great.  gee, we even have a black man running for president!

 but its a narrow sighted vision of our history.  yes – were were slaves, but we’ve been SO many other things that it’s just pathetic that in the 21st century, we are mass produced only as being slaves.  it sends a subtle message to others that this is where we should still be.  that we are only where we are because we were allowed to be freed – or that you had to “break the law”, by running away, to see freedom.  it reinforces the message that at any point, we could end up back there and that blacks, by nature, are not law abiding.  What about the first black woman in space?  what about the first black sorority that, this year, is celebrating 100years!? (AKA) What about the inventors, the doctors, the lawyers?  We’ve been ALL of those things throughout history – but ‘american girl’ only sees the slaves.

i know – I KNOW – this sounds like it is beyond paranoid.  don’t get me wrong, i don’t actively live with this over my head, i don’t think any of my non-black friends consciously think this way and i do know that this is a part of the history of this country.  i just don’t understand why this is the ONLY way blacks are seen and portrayed.  We have been SO much more than that!

note: i’ve already written “american girl” about my complaint and was nicely told to “bug off”.

so, if I understand that this is a part of the history, why am I offended by the american girl line?  because they have had many, many opportunites in their line of ‘girl of the year’ dolls to portray a doll of african ancestry that is postive and wonderful.  yet the only black doll that remains is ‘Addy’.  many of these dolls did not have a story line that ‘needed’ to be white – but that’s what was chosen.  it’s just a very narrow view of our rich culture and a sad assumption that ‘white’ america wouldn’t accept other black dolls.  and that hurts when you are being asked to spend upwards of $100 on a doll and accessories.

so – i’m leaving this in my mother’s hands.  it will be her domain for spending on the only grandchild.  and i promise not to gripe about it. (but do notice – she does not have a ‘historical’ doll, but one from the ‘just like me’ collection – and it nearly looks like her!)

Published in: on March 31, 2008 at 5:32 am  Comments (2)