Glaring Lack of Black and Latina Dolls on the Market

Krishna Stone, a spokeswoman for Gay Men’s Health Crisis, a non-profit organization committed to national leadership in the fight against AIDS, learned the hard way how few choices there are for parents seeking Latin and Black dolls. The organization managed to gather more than 150 dolls to place on the steps of City Hall in New York on Tuesday, highlighting depressing statistics about women’s health (such as the AIDS rate), and calling politicians and community leaders to action.

But finding dolls to accurately represent the statistics, particularly those affecting women of color, proved easier said than done. According to New York City’s Department of Health, 90% of women living with H.I.V. and 94% of new infections in teenage girls are among Blacks and Hispanics. But the fact of the matter is that most dolls made are still white, despite the fact that "minorities" now make up 43 percent of the population of the United States under 20-years-old.

Although toy makers began to diversify their products years ago, most parents are still hard-pressed to find dolls that reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of today's families. The good news is that the trend seems to be reversing. With Disney's recent announcement of its first African American princess, the success of Dora the Explorer and American Girl introducing a variety of ethnic dolls like Addy, Josefina and Kaya—more dolls with familiar faces are showing up on shelves. That being said, toy companies still have a long way to go before their products truly reflect the rich diversity of our communities.