Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Baby Fray and Big Life Lessons

Evelyn has never been inside a Toys 'R Us before.  Yesterday was a first for her.  I think her little mind was near explosion.  I had told her that we were going to a toy store to pick out a new baby doll for her and she was beyond thrilled.  

We walked up and down the aisles looking for the doll section.  Finally, we found it.  She wanted all of them.  She walked down the aisle saying, "I like this one, I like this one, I like this one...."  This girl loves being a mommy to her little babies.  

I pulled one down off the shelf that didn't have a bazillion accessories and asked her if she liked it.  She responded with an emphatic, "That's MY baby!"  Ok, then.  

We headed out with a very excited little girl who wanted it out of the package as soon as possible.  She also wanted to take her doll into the mall with her where we had to stop into a few stores.  No big deal, right?  Apparently I was wrong.  

I was given a very interesting glimpse into the inner workings of the minds around me though this little experience.  It's just a little girl and her beloved doll....right?  

Not so much.

Here's Evelyn with her new doll whom she has named Baby Fray. 


So here's what happened.

We walked in the door of the mall and the first people we saw were two black women in their 40's.  One of them looked at Evelyn clutching her doll while they rode in the stroller, looked up at me, and said, "wow" with a smile on her face and continued walking.  That one warmed my heart.

Most people paid little to no notice of Evelyn while she played with her doll.  This was more what I was expecting.

Then we walked into a women's clothing store.  I'm debating not going in that store again.  We walked in and were browsing around.  Then one of the store clerks saw Evelyn walking around singing to her baby.  She started laughing.  Not laughing as in, "oh isn't that sweet".  LAUGHING.  She stopped long enough to say, "Oh my goodness that little white girl has a BLACK baby doll!"  I was mortified.  And speechless.  

I responded with something lame like, "yep, she does." 

But it continued.  She then called her fellow employees over so that they could look at my daughter like she was some kind of spectacle.  My poor little sweetie just stood there clinging to her doll looking confused yet somewhat oblivious to what was transpiring.

The woman just kept commenting on how usually little girls play with dolls that look like them, wondering why she would want to play with a black doll, and assuming that I laughed really hard when this doll came into our possession.

I gathered my bearings, let the woman know that my daughter actually is the one that decided she wanted that particular doll, and that she regularly is around people of different races and skin tones, and that she loved the doll and that's all I cared about.  

Her response, "well I guess that's good."

I can't imagine someone would be this brazen when it is me not carrying a doll, but my child who looks different than me.  At least I hope they wouldn't.  But I won't ever be able to put it out of the realm of possible situations we will find ourselves in.

As far as Evelyn and baby Fray go, they are still very much mommy and baby.  Baby Fray slept in Evelyn's bed last night, and she was so excited to show her off to daddy this morning.  She was served breakfast with the family and hasn't left Evelyn's side all day.  Apparently Evelyn was unscathed by this woman and her insensitivity. 

2 comments:

  1. I'm so sorry you had that experience. It's unfortunate that that sort of prejudice still exists, but I guess we need to practice our reactions. :(

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  2. Oh my goodness, that is awful. I've had the same thing happen when my little girl decided she wanted a black baby doll - when the clerk said something rude I believe I replied "well I guess she just feels that no matter the color all babies need love".

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