When I was in college I remember seeing the study where young African American girls had to choose between a black doll and a white doll and point to which one was good and which one was bad. The girls routinely chose the black doll as bad and the white doll as good. It really saddened me to see this, but it wasn’t totally surprising. If African American girls do not see positive images of themselves on screen or in books, and they only see Caucasian girls or dolls as the standard of beauty and positive behavior, then they will begin to make those associations.
I knew that when I had daughters I wanted to make sure that they were continuously presented with positive images of brown girls that mirrored them. It may seem superficial to do so, but I think it’s extremely important to make sure that our daughters see reflections of themselves on television, in books, and with the toys they play with. Doing this, along with affirming them with our own words of encouragement and knowledge sharing is important.
Here are some movies and TV shows that are great for African American girls:
My daughter is 5, and so far, I share books that don’t talk about race directly. Instead, I like to focus on books that feature African American little girls that look like her, but they’re doing normal things totally unrelated to race. I’ve read most of these books to my daughter over the past few years, and she loves them. A few I just discovered and they are wonderful.
Pre-K to 2nd grade
7 to 12 years old
As I read, I like to point out things that are similar about the character to my daughter. I point out how pretty the girls’ curly hair is, or how cute her braids are. Also how kind she is being to others, or another positive character trait. I really like to point out the positives in these brown girl characters and relate them to how she is.
Ladies, what would you add to this list?
Sundi is a mom of four who lives with her husband outside of Atlanta, Georgia.