A Barbie Doll That Honors Ida B. Wells Faces An Uphill Battle Against Anti-Blackness
Can Black dolls help Black children better understand their racial identity?
March 10, 2022 at 4:58 pm
When Mattel announced in January 2022 that it was releasing a new Barbie doll to honor Ida B. Wells – the famed 19th-century Black journalist and anti-lynching crusader – the company said the idea was to “inspire us to dream big.” However, while the doll may prove helpful to young Black children, its impact is likely to be limited.
Although diverse groups are sometimes represented accurately within print and digital media, racist portrayals of Black people still persist.
Young Black children can internalize racial messages from a variety of sources, including anti-Black messages from the media, interactions with peers and school practices, such as being disproportionately disciplined or suspended from school. This internalization can negatively impact young children’s feelings about their race and others.