Friday, October 25, 2013

White Baby, Black Doll

I remember when Punkgirl was little, and she loved baby dolls more than any other toy in the store.  She had about 100 baby dolls over the years, each with their own name and story.  Some of them were hideous...I remember one that used to shake like a crack addict and fall down.  I'm pretty sure we even called it "crack baby" (not in front of her, of course.). She loved every single one, but there was a very special set of twin baby dolls that she got on her first Christmas that have brought both her and her sister immense joy, despite the controversy they caused with strangers and even a couple of family members.

Punkgirl fell in love with a set of black baby doll twins when she was about 9 months old.  By in love I mean that she squealed and bounced up and down from the first moment she saw them, reaching out her hands for them immediately.  They have had many names over the years; once they were "the babies"...when she was learning colors they were her "beautiful brown babies"...when she was older they had "twin" names, like Emma and Ava or things like that.

From the moment she started carrying them around, she has had commentary. "Why do you have black babies?  You're white," was the least offensive. Neither Punkgirl nor her parents care if the babies are black, white, brown, or even purple; they are simply cute babies.  But for some reason, some people have a hard time understanding why I would buy my child a brown baby doll.  I had forgotten those conversations over the years, as Punkgirl stopped carrying dolls around (she's is 12, after all) and kept them neatly on her bed instead.  Now that 10 month old Rose has fallen in love with one of the twins (though interestingly not both) I find myself anticipating the same questions.  So I am preparing my answers ahead of time.  They're not complicated, but here they are, the top ten answers to the question "why does your white baby have a brown baby doll?"

1.  This is a cute baby.  Why would I want an ugly baby?

2.  She likes that baby.  They have the same lack of hair.

3.  I don't want her to judge anyone by skin color, so why start with a baby doll?

4.  Why the hell not?

5.  Why are you hating on a baby doll?

6.  It makes her happy.  SEE REASON #2

7.  Why do you only have a white baby doll.  Are you (gasp, look around, whisper) a racist?

8.  I believe in loving ALL baby dolls, regardless of color, religion, or sexual orientation.  In fact, this one just came out of the closet a few weeks ago. (Literally, my daughter has a box of dolls.)

9.  Are you still hating on a baby doll?  

10.  It's none of your damn business what I buy my baby, but in this case, it's been her sister's doll for twelve years, so she's part of the family.  That makes you a (second cousin, great-uncle, etc),  FYI.

So...what kinds of baby dolls does your child have?

Previously posted on BlogHer.


  1. I like Number 7 best! Definitely don't see any reason why a child cannot have baby dolls of every color, and shame on people who think differently!

    1. I think that because I have a background in early childhood ed, it only seems natural to me to have multicultural dolls!

  2. It's interesting about dolls. My daughter is biracial, so I have searched out brown skinned baby dolls from the get go. It's hard to find them sometimes. She has both black and white dolls and nobody seems to question why she has a white doll, so I find it odd that people would question your children's choice of a brown baby over a white.

  3. I found it odd when Punkgirl was little. With Rose, I found I was a lot more annoyed than surprised. I think, sometimes, the intended question was maybe not "why do you have a black baby doll?" but instead "why do you you have a black baby doll instead of a white baby doll?" To me, having worked in child care centers for almost 20 years, it was just natural to have different dolls of varying ethnic backgrounds. It just happened that for whatever reason both of my girls loved that particular baby doll the best.

  4. this post totally made me giggle. my oldest, Big'K, absolutely loved a little black baby doll when she was younger. and because she disliked toys period I happily purchased that baby doll. my family hated the doll and questioned us everytime. I just kind of shrugged it off and used a diatribe much like #8 above until eventually I lost my shat at easter one year and pulled a 'look my kid is three and is barely talking, hates toys, spends hours arranging everything in her room and for the love of all holy she found a baby doll she loves so back off' moment. they really didn't say anything else. but who cares really. that's my philosophy.

    just found your blog today and I love it!!!

    1. Loco Yaya, welcome! I'm glad you like the blog! I remember losing it once, too...I never understood the big deal--what's in a color? And that doll makes the kid happy!