Ears are now tuning into the concept of representation matters whether it’s for employment, sports, TV and movies, advertisements, education or government. It was introduced to me by Antero Garcia, a speaker at a diversity conference through my school system. Adolescents needing to have their experiences reflected, see their faces in school, YA novels, was my take away message. Whenever I integrate a new concept I feel sheepish it didn’t occur to me sooner, but some tiny corner of me must have known its absence because it resonated so strongly.
All these toys were placed in a Toy Hall of Fame sometime late fall 2020. I played with most of these, but was struck by the Baby Nancy. I no idea she existed. Pathetically, I was first struck by the fact a doll was named Nancy; my first name. Growing up I knew few people with my name. Nancy was rarely used in TV shows or songs; only Frank Sinatra’s song about his daughter of the same name. Oh yes, there’s a mention in a Beatles song. I can not begin to project how people of color may have felt seeing Baby Nancy on the shelves. It wasn’t the first doll of color but this one apparently rocked the toy world. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-goldberg-baby-nancy-black-doll-shindana-20190312-story.html%3f_amp=true
Fast forward to 2020, I know a 6 year old, who when given all the possibilities, requested diverse dolls this Christmas. It wasn’t about diversity, but what she liked, what the dolls represented to her. Even better.
Know a person’s name, say it often, are basic sales tenants. People want to hear their name, they want to see their color, their sexual identity; representation matters. ****I do not imply, in the least, hearing my name in a song shares equal footing as having substantial representation in workplace, government, or movies. In fact I propose the opposite. If someone in the Covid ‘at risk’ age group, felt a little thrill discovering a doll from 50 years ago held my name, imagine the treasure of seeing a like face on the screen or as… vice president of the United States, or as Transportation Secretary. Representation can imply our value. Lack of, dismisses our value.
Until next time- Nancy