We Need Diverse Dolls

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“I guess they only like white people,” my 5-year old said the first time she noticed the Our Generation doll section at Target.

Screeeech! I stopped our cart short in the middle of my dash to buy home supplies.

“They only have white dolls,” she explained. Then she shrugged her shoulders and moved past the aisle.

And she was right. All the Our Generation dolls on the shelves — upwards of 20 dolls in a dozen or so varieties — were white.

“Maybe they’re out of stock,” I suggested. “Let’s check another time.”

The next time we passed the Our Generation aisle, my 8-year old daughter Lola remarked “Still all white dolls … And look, no spaces. They’re fully stocked.” Again, the full shelf boasted diversity of the alabaster sort. When we asked the in-store customer service why there weren’t any dolls of color on the Our Generation shelves, the rep told us that even if they weren’t on the shelves, the “international dolls” could be purchased at Target.com.  

The next time we visited the Our Generation dolls, again, all white. The customer service rep this time checked to see when any would come in and told us this:  “We never stock anything but white Our Generation dolls at this store. I don’t know why. That’s decided at corporate. They are available at other stores.”  The nearest Target to carry non-white Our Generation dolls was half an hour away, and they were sold out. The closest Target with non-white Our Generation dolls in stock was almost an hour away.

Target can do better. Target says on their website that “Diversity is core to every area of our business: from our team, to our suppliers, to the communities we serve.”

But you couldn’t tell that from their toy aisle.

When Target over-represents white people to these extremes, you tell children visiting your store very loudly that you value white lives more than non-white lives. When you offer few varieties of dolls of color, not only do you reveal how little you value people of color, you render entire racial and ethnic groups invisible.

Target has the power to send kids and families a strong message: “Black, Latino, Native American and Asian children matter, too!”

We ask Target to display more, and a more diverse selection, of dolls of color in every store. We also ask that Target marketing show children of all races playing with dolls of color.

Please add your name to this petition. We’ll deliver your message to Target along with the letter from Lola below.

 
Dear Target HQ:

My sister and I are brown-skinned and have curly/kinky heads of hair that make nice afros when we wear it out. We have visited the Our Generation doll aisle at Target many times, and every time the only dolls on the shelves are white. We know they make dolls of color but you don’t seem to stock them. We would like to know why that is?

My parents taught us that we need to see ourselves in our toys to grow up feeling like we matter. I have dolls of different skin colors, including white dolls, but my parents and I agree I don’t need more white dolls to feel like white people matter! There are many kids of color in this community and even my white friends would probably like to have dolls of different skin tones and hair textures.

Sincerely,

Lola, age 8 



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