Toys: Does Race Matter?

Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle all the way… the sound of “Jingle Bells always puts me in the mindset of being a child during the Christmas season. Now that I am a mom, with children of my own, I like to explore the same familiar tunes I once enjoyed. Together we search catalogs for toy interests and visit stores to find what types of toys they like most. Although, I allow my children to pick out their own toys, unlike some parents, I find that it gives me a keen opportunity to learn more about their personalities and personal interests. Recently, I learned something about myself as well.

I had a conversation with one of my friends about what she was getting for her children. Like me, she has two daughter’s  and I was curious about what types of gifts other parents purchased. She told me that she and her husband purchased a doll-house with a completely black family for their girls to share and enjoy together. The visual picture of their little girls playing with a family-set that mimicked their own, delighted me. Her gift was in stark contrasts to the gifts I have for my little ones: A Hot Wheels Race track, Dream Lite, Brianna Styling Head (from the positively perfect dolls collection), and Home Depot Toy Work Bench. Yes, I do have daughters, but like me they like to build, create, and watch things move. I never even thought about getting them something so life like, similar to a doll house.

When I thought more about my friend’s gift, I was completely intrigued. When I listen to my girls play they soak-in everything around them, they’re conversations are very similar to what they deem important in their parent’s lives. Their imaginary play consists of going to conferences, speaking in front of audiences, being chefs, building homes, writing blogs, designing, etc. Everything they enjoy in their own play-time reflects what the have been exposed to either in real life or from books we’ve read. I love how they tell me, “Mommy, you’re beautiful.” I love how they look up to me and their dad and see us as their perfect world. They see their Dad as their protector and friend. They love us infinitely, and we love them too. If I were to purchase a doll house, I believe I would look for a family similar to our own, one that they love and can relate to. Sure, I am personally in love with diversity, and believe children and people from around the world are beautiful so I try to give them exposure to as many different ethnic groups as I can. But most importantly, I try to share the nurture and love they need to develop a love for who they are first.

I realized that letting my girls play and enjoy characters they can relate to is deeply important to me. Our children learn their perspective about love, life, and the world from play; therefore teaching them how to love themselves first is an important concept, which will stay with them throughout their entire lives. Walmart conducted a survey they complimented my own realization. The survey was conducted by Toluna online in November 2012. The survey captured responses from 500 African-American parents and 500 Hispanic parents. 851 respondents have children between 3 and 11 years old, and remaining 149 respondents have children between 12 and 15 year old kids. 77 % of African American parents wish there were more culturally relevant toys to give to their children and desire more toys that are representative of their family’s race, ethnicity and/or culture.

Walmart’s infographic makes their findings clear, many black parents enjoy buying toys for our children around Christmas time, but want to have more  options our children can relate to. 

“Infographic was provided by Walmart via GolinHarris. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Walmart. Visit for more information on holiday shopping this season.”
Walmart study conducted by Toluna online


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Regarding toy options does the ethnicity of toys matter?

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