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American Girl Doll - The Diversity Debate

I've participated in many debates regarding diversity within the American Girl Doll line of toys. It seems as if it's almost become the cliche argument both for and against modern day toymakers. And essentially, there is no winning the debate. A toymaker is damned if they do, and damned if they don't.

While I have an admitted love/hate relationship with the American Girl Doll Company, one thing I'll grant them in their favor, is that they get diversity right. Most of the time. And more often than any other toy manufacturer out there.

With my personal American Girl Doll experience, I don't see how ANYONE can say there hasn't been enough racial, ethnic, or even religious diversity over the years.

Just in our collection of 18 dolls, yes, we have 4 blonde and 6 brunette Caucasian dolls; but we also have two African-American dolls, three Hispanic dolls, a Native American girl, a Mexican-American girl, and an Asian-American girl. One of the girls is Jewish. Contrary to popular misconception, neither of the black dolls is a slave girl. One is a Truly Me Doll, but everyone seems to have forgotten that Cecile was a rather well-to-do child being raised in New Orleans elite society.

And our collection doesn't even include many of the beautiful faces of American Girl Dolls past. What about Jessa? Marisol? Sonali? Ivy? From Hispanic, to Mexican, to Indian, to Asian? How about Lindsay? She was another Jewish doll.

Where else can you find such a brilliant rainbow of skin tones, eye colors, hair textures, and historical, religious, or cultural backgrounds in ONE line of dolls?

You can't!

There has been much negative feedback surrounding the release of the 2016 American Girl Doll Girl of the Year, because although she comes with a darker skin tone, and gorgeous green eyes, her hair still comes with those pesky bleached highlights that prevent her from being politically correct in this day and age.

So many people are forgetting that the other 2016 featured doll in the Historical Characters line is indeed a "Girl of Color" and on that note, I'd like to introduce Melody Ellison.

Melody Ellison, available Summer 2016
According to the American Girl Doll website, Melody is an optimistic, enthusiastic girl growing up in Detroit, Michigan during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960's. In her currently available book, No Ordinary Sound, Melody has been chosen to sing a solo for Youth Day at her church. She is inspired by the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as she picks the perfect song.

Kids today might be moved by Melody's story; one that doesn't gloss over the unfair things happening to black people during this period of history. And I'd like to hope that, maybe, our future generation will indeed find that love and acceptance is much more than a skin-deep condition.

Perhaps our daughters will also be the ones that teach us that there are indeed real problems in the world that need our attention, moreso than a bunch of people arguing over racial diversity in a line of overpriced plastic toys.

Maybe, even at some point, our own generation can put away the hate politics and give American Girl Doll credit where credit is due. If we want ALL companies to do a better job with diversity, we have to recognize the ones that already put forth a commendable effort.

We're missing a few, including Kaya, but here is most of our collection.

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