Toy manufacturer, Mattel Inc, is making a statement with a recent vlog.
In the video blog post, The iconic toy figure Barbie is sending a message to children about how to tackle racism and be a white ally.
Experts says the most important thing for parents to do is to have honest conversations and be prepared to answer their children’s questions without shame.
“Children are listening. They hear and they absorb,” Stephanie Peyton, Children’s Home Society of Florida.
In the three minute video, Barbie tackles racism with her friend Nikki. The message aired to nearly 9.7 million subscribers on Barbie’s YouTube page.
“The reach of a company like Mattel is not just nationwide, but they have a global reach. So, their impact and them putting out that type of statement forces issues like this even more so into the spotlight for a younger generation,” said Peyton.
This video has gone viral, in just over a week it’s been viewed millions of times across social media.
Peyton says it’s important that children hear these kinds of discussion and activism isn’t determined by age.
“Children can be activists. Children can contribute in their own ways whether it’s just making sure they’re teaching their peers; you know at an age appropriate peer to peer level. And certainly, as they get older, they will tend to stay involved in those conversations, and question things and not take things at face value and stay the status quo,” Peyton said.
Petyon says parents need to validate their children’s concerns by having difficult conversations.
“When we don’t validate them the opposite of course is being invalidating. Saying things like don’t worry about that you’ll understand it when you’re older oh those are just things that they are the way they are. When we invalidate them and discount those children’s questions and concerns that can do some real damage,” said Peyton.
For parents seeking resources to better navigate these conversations with their children around race, diversity, privilege, and social activism, here are a few:
- A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara
- The ABC’s of Diversity: Helping Kids (And Ourselves!) Explore Our Differences by Carolyn Helsel
- Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness by Anastasia Higginbotham