Black Dolls Teach Respect for Diversity

Child needs toys with various types of representativeness, says psychologist

São Paulo

Once upon a time, there was a princess who, every time she looked in the mirror, could not see her reflection. This beginning for a fairy tale would be very sad, right? Imagine, then, when we discover that this story took place in real life, repeatedly, until very recently.

Many black girls forgot how special they were because, in the past, there were no black dolls in Brazil. Without this reference, they would not recognize themselves - as in a defective mirror. Gradually, the toy market has started to recognize the importance of a more diverse catalog, and the fact that the life of modern princesses can, in short, be happier.

Child needs toys with various types of representativeness, says psychologist. Foto:Divulgação - Divulgação

Jaciana Melquiades, 36, had two dolls in her childhood, in Belford Roxo, in Baixada Fluminense. The first was a blond baby, a gift from her grandmother. The second, a Barbie, which the girl insisted on until she was gifted it.

She wanted her son to have a different experience than her. So the businesswoman formalized in 2013 an idea she had had for years: creating a black doll and doll shop for black dolls.

"I thought about what references he would have when he was born," says Matias' mother, now nine years old. "I had a hard time finding toys, products, and clothes that looked like him, or that had black characters."

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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