Little 2-year-old Sophia recently bought a new doll from Target. When she went to check out, however, the cashier was confused. The cashier asked Sophia if she would rather have a doll that looked like her. That’s because the doll Sophia picked out was a bit darker than Sophia. The child’s response left the cashier speechless.
It all started when Brandi and Nick Benner, Sophia’s parents, promised her a new doll if she could use the potty with no accidents for a full month. Sophia met this challenge and was taken to Target to pick out her new doll. She excitedly looked through the toy section when she settled on her pretty new doll.
The doll Sophia picked out was a black doll. The child, however, didn’t notice the skin color. She noticed the doctor’s jacket and stethoscope that the doll was wearing.
Because Sophia wants to be a doctor, she grabbed the doll and proudly went to check out. Sophia didn’t pay attention to how she was different from the doll, she focused on how she and the doll were the same.
The cashier first asked Sophia if she was going to a birthday party. The woman obviously thought the doll was a present for one of Sophia’s friends. Confused, the parents and Sophia said no, the doll was for this child.
The cashier then said, “But she doesn’t look like you. We have lots of other dolls that look more like you.” Brandi was immediately angry, but before she could say anything, Sophia responded.
The little child said, “Yes, she does. She’s a doctor like I’m a doctor. And I’m a pretty girl and she’s a pretty girl,” Sophia said. “See her pretty hair? And see her stethoscope?”
The cashier didn’t have a response. She just said, “Oh that’s nice,” and finished ringing the family out. It’s unclear if the cashier realized how ignorant she sounded or just wanted to move on to the next customer. Hopefully she reflected on what she had said to the girl and reflected on the wisdom of the child.
Brandi was extremely proud of her daughter’s response. It’s clear that children don’t see anything inherently different about skin color, it’s just a difference we’re born with like hair color, eye color, etc. The prejudices we have are nothing natural, they are taught to us by our family by society, by the media, and more.
Children, without learning these harmful stereotypes, just see other people. That’s a far more accurate view of the world than the prejudices some of us learn as we get older.
Little Sophia can teach us all a valuable lesson about respect and about not focusing on differences. When she looked at that doll, she didn’t notice the differences, she noticed the similarities. Sophia saw a doll that was just like her because she was a doctor, just like Sophia wanted to be. Just like this child, we should all focus on our similarities instead of focusing on the differences that divide us.