Monday, March 17, 2014

White privilege and the search for black dolls

My husband and I have finally relented to teaching our son how to pee and poop in the potty.  We're serious this time.  Our son is 3 so I know what you are thinking.  What the hell??? Why isn't that kid potty trained yet?  And if you say to me, "I understand, every child has their own timetable" don't think I didn't catch that slight side-eye.

We have tried several times before to try and potty train our son.  The first time, I had no idea what I was doing, and just sat him on the potty after reading a book about potty training to him.  I thought he would get it.  Instead, he just looked at me all strange and when I finally got him up from the potty and put his diaper on, he went in the diaper.  I did that for a couple of weeks until I finally gave up.  If he was just going to hold his pee/poop until after I change him, I decided we weren't ready and would wait a couple of months.  

The second time, I had read-up on training and decided to prepare him for the task at hand.  I got out the videos, read the books, gave words of encouragement and set him on his way.  But I still wasn't comfortable going all out and kept him in diapers.  Big mistake.  He wasn't able to tell the clues and would still pee and poop in his diaper.  After a week I just couldn't do it anymore and gave up.  

Everyone kept saying this is an easy process and should only take a week-end.  Well why was this taking more than a couple of weeks to catch on?  After I realized those people who gave that advice were DEAD WRONG, I decided to listen to my son and look for his readiness clues.  So the third time I went for the plunge.  Got out the training underwear (release the chokehold you have over me diaper!) and dedicated a week-end to potty-training.  By Sunday we were a success!!!  Going on the potty, peeing and pooping, only minor accidents! I was relieved that we had finally trained him.  But then Sunday night came.  *Cue horror music*  The thought of leaving him in another's hands to go over what we had gone over in the week-end was terrifying.  Would they follow the same procedure?  Would the praise be comparable?  Would he go pee and poop?  

The next day, I took him to my in-laws while I went to work.  It was an utter disaster.  I explained how the process would go and tried my hardest to give detail.  None of it worked.  My son learned how to pee and poop in his training pants and it was a wrap after that.  After I realized my in-laws and I weren't on the same page as far as potty-training goes, I decided to give up again.  There was no use confusing my son on a daily basis.

But now, for the fourth and hopefully final time, we are serious!!!!!  We have a training video, we're getting supplies, collecting sheets and books and my husband is even getting in on the action so I know it's a serious matter.  But one of the things that we have to collect to help him train, is a doll.  An anatomically correct doll who can go pee.  I just cough it up to being a parent, I don't really want to know why I NEED a doll with a penis.  So in this great search for a doll, with a penis, who can pee, I came upon something that, in my eyes is very strange.  There. are. no. black. boy. dolls. who. pee.

None. Zero. Zilch.  

Yep and if you looked up that ONE doll, guess what, they don't sell it anymore.

Why is this strange to me you ask?  Because there were a million websites that I viewed of white boy dolls who pee, white girl dolls who pee, and there was even a black girl doll who pees.

Do black boys just not pee?  This would explain why my son is still in pull-ups, as he is utterly confused about the entire process down there.

To those who would say, "Why don't you just buy a white doll? Duh!?!  I see your point.  It makes total sense to just buy a doll with the correct anatomic parts, whether it's a white doll, or a black doll, but see, you sir/madame, miss MY point and white privilege lends you the ability to make that statement.  The fact that black boy pee dolls aren't even sold, creates the "the white doll is the default" assumption.  I would love to create an environment where there is an equivalent black doll, asian doll, hispanic doll and white doll sold in stores, so when consumers go buy dolls for their children, they can with the satisfaction that their child can see themselves in their play toy.  When children constantly don't see his or herself in their toys, it can create a sense that they (the child) are not as good as the dolls or the real life children that they constantly play with.  This study shows how that plays out in the young psyche of children.  And if we truly want a post-racial society, then we need a black boy doll that pees.  Trust me on this one.  

I also realize i'm not alone in my search.  So what gives US?  I hate to guilt trip you, but why in 2014, with a black family in the White House (yes it's subtle-not-subtle) can we, black families not find black boy dolls who pee?  Your attention on this matter is greatly appreciated.

Seriously though, like this sister who advocated for her brother, she has a point.  We know dolls have always been geared towards and marketed to girls, but we need to advocate for companies to sell anatomically correct black dolls that pee so we create environments where ALL boys feel comfortable playing with dolls who look like them.  Toys shouldn't be discriminated against in race or gender.  So will you help me out and sign my petition?


  1. I agree with you. That doll not being available is kinda rude. I hope they come to thier senses. Ooo! Just a little tip, have him copy dad in the potty. Boys only tho but you praise as they come out, it really helped us! Both our boys were potty trained by 1yr&6mos and 1yr&4mos.! GOOD LUCK & Blessings!

  2. Thank you for the tip Samantha! I'm not above trying any and everything :)