As described in the article, racism exists even in the toy departments across America. Dolls of various colors and ethnicities are not displayed on store shelves or at a minimum; with white dolls getting their fair share of shelf time. Perhaps this is derived from the long-standing tradition of the toy industry producing white dolls that rarely, if ever, produced dolls of different color and ethnicity when dolls were first introduced.
There was a time when white dolls were the only choice of little girls. The article makes mention of a study conducted in 1954 in which black girls chose white dolls more than black dolls. Even though it was concluded that black girls preferred white dolls more than black ones, it seems a little pejorative and inaccurate considering the low number of black dolls that were available in 1954 as opposed to modern times. Of course, a similar study was conducted in recent years that supported the 1954 study with similar findings. What does this say about our society? Could it be if a black girl goes into a store she chooses a white doll because the selection of black dolls and dolls of ethnicities are either not prominently displayed or not displayed at all, so the white doll is the only choice she has. We can hardly blame the black girl for choosing the white doll if that is what is predominately being marketed.
The bigger question is why have we made such an issue over what color dolls to display on store shelves? What is really being showcased is not white dolls, but rather the continual racial inequalities that exist within society. Using toys to divide the masses is a low blow even for society. Children love toys and the toy store is one place where racial inequality should cease to exist. To promote this ideology, only serves to teach our children that one race or ethnicity is better than another. At some point, we have to decide every person is created equal. Perhaps when this happens, the negative aspects of racial inequality that plague society will cease to exist.
Recently in the news, there was the case of Rachel Dolezal, who claimed to be black, but was actually born to two white parents. The irony was that Dolezal had held a prominent position as the Spokane, Washington, chapter of the NAACP. She had carried on the deception for more than a decade. Welcome to the world of racial passing where an individual is one race but assumes the persona of another race. In Dolezal’s case she was a white woman who took on a black persona and it served her well within society.
The article focuses on Anatole Broyard who identified as a white man despite the fact of being bi-racial (part black). He kept the secret well-hidden until his death and throughout his life had little contact with his family who identified as black. Broyard elected to identify as white because he lived during a time where blacks were consider insubordinate to whites. If he had any hope of succeeding in life, he knew he had to identify as white. It was easy for him because he was light-skinned and his racial identity was never questioned. Identifying as black during that time would have also changed the way he was perceived by society.
Sad, but true, it is non uncommon to think a certain way about an individual based on the color of their skin. It is often touted that the color of one’s skin should have no bearing on prominence, success, and achievements, but it does. If a black person, who identifies as black, goes on to be a huge success in life, they are regarded as an exception to the rule, and are shown the same level of respect as a white person who may have achieved similar accomplishments. Blacks have been suppressed since the days of slavery and it is almost an expected norm that in some regard they will never achieve the same level of success as the white person. This is through no fault of their own, however. Blacks are seldom given the same opportunities as whites, even by today’s standards. Although society has come a long way, from the days of slavery and racial segregation, there are still tenets within it in which color plays a role in one’s success.
To both Dolezal and Broyard’s credit, they proved on both sides of the issue that by passing as one color or the other they were taken seriously and given the opportunities on the same level as white people. Perhaps it has little to do with color and more to do with how successful one is. Society prides itself on its successful individuals, regardless of color. If that is to be believed, a black person who becomes hugely successful, will be perceived on the same level as that of a white person. When we can embrace individuals for who they are and what they have to offer the world, instead of basing it on skin color, ethnicity, and their level of success, we will begin to see a shift away from racial discrimination and more of a harmonious society that we all aspire to.