When Toy Story 4 came out in 2019, I was ecstatic to revisit my favorite childhood movie. However, halfway through the movie, I couldn’t help but notice a common theme among the main characters– all of the toys were white.
Fumbling through my own childhood belongings, I was astonished to discover so little diversity:
A white baby doll.
A Captain America action figure.
A book about white kids traveling in a magic treehouse.
After reflecting upon the article, “How to Diversify Your Toy Box,” I realized that my observation wasn’t far off from the reality of our toy industry. With clear racial disparity in a market saturated with white toys, journalist Shanicia Boswell stresses the impact of racial representation in childrens’ toys, urging parents to “create a multiracial and multicultural spectrum in a child’s activities.”
Research presented in the article verifies that children comprehend racial differences as early as the age of three, making it critical for society to adopt a more racially inclusive environment for kids of color to grow up in. By surrounding children of color with primarily white figures, we send a message that their culture is racially inferior. Consider Barbie dolls: shelves of primarily white, slim figurines teach young children of color a false standard of beauty.
Especially today, buying products that reflect the world we live in is imperative, and it’s about time for us to record screen time on diversity.