Why is it so hard to find a black baby doll?


Heidi just turned one last week, and we decided to get her a baby doll for her birthday. As a multi-racial family, we try to have diverse toys and books in our house, and we wanted to get her a black baby doll. Should be easy, right? We live in Kenya. No, not easy. THERE ARE ALMOST NO BLACK DOLLS HERE. Whenever you see Kenyan kids playing with dolls, they are almost always little white dolls with blonde hair.

I was in the US in December, and decided to look for a black baby doll while I was there. My mother lives in a greater metro area that is over 50% African American. I went to a local department store, and went to the doll section. I expected to see a choice of dolls from different ethnicities (at least black and white dolls, given the racial makeup of the city). I was wrong. Nothing but white dolls. Row upon row of white dolls. Blonde-haired, blue-eyed white dolls. Dozens of pink boxes with white dolls inside. Not the kind of dolls I was looking for.

In the end, I decided to search Amazon for a black baby doll, and found one that I loved. Heidi loves it too… 🙂 She walks around the house, patting her baby’s back, swaying back and forth with a big grin on her face. So sweet…

It is really important to me that my children have dolls and books that reflect who they are. Claire is always looking for people who have skin like hers, or hair like hers. She yearns to identify with a group of people. (For the record, Claire fully identifies as black.) Having black baby dolls and books featuring black characters makes a difference. If only we could find more here in Nairobi…

PS: Our family came over to celebrated Heidi’s birthday this past weekend, and they gave her – you guessed it – a white baby doll!  And she loves them both… 🙂

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4 Responses to Why is it so hard to find a black baby doll?

  1. Ann says:

    check kazinidaily.com she had featured a lady who makes black dolls

    • Mama Mgeni says:

      Yes! These dolls are amazing. When Claire is older and ready for Barbie-type dolls, we’re definitely getting these!

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