NYT Honorable Mention

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. 

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