Family & Parenting

Barbie Video Is A Great Way To Start The Conversation About Racism With Kids

Barbie's vlog on racism has gone viral.

Barbie has been influencing young girls since her debut back in 1959. Ruth Handler, who created the smiling blonde fashion doll, stated that Barbie was intended to be a role model for women.

“My whole philosophy of Barbie was that, through the doll, the girl could be anything she wanted to be,” Handler, co-founder of Mattel, has been quoted as saying. “Barbie always represented the fact that a woman has choices.”

Through imaginative play, Barbie has shown little girls that they can become anything, from nurses and doctors, firefighters, scientists and even presidents. Most recently, she is letting kids know that they can help fight racism.

Mattel, Inc.

In an animated “vlog” on Barbie’s YouTube channel, she and her friend Nikki, who is Black, have an open discussion. Nikki shares some of her experiences, which shock her friend.

“That’s not fair,” Barbie says, “because that means that white people get an advantage they didn’t earn, and Black people get a disadvantage that they don’t deserve.”

This is serious because people can get hurt when others make assumptions about others, Nikki points out. This explains why people are marching,

“When enough of us stand together,” Nikki shares, “people pay attention.”

You can watch the complete video, which currently has more than 690,000 views.

Barbie’s vlog is part of an effort by maker Mattel to empower girls, both in fun and more serious ways. Previous topics have included gaslighting when jokes go too far, how girls often over apologize, and mental health.

Mattel is the first brand to announce a corporate Play Fair commitment. The toy brand has committed to increasing Black representation, with more Black role models and resources dedicated to supporting Black girls. The brand is donating $250,000 to NAACP youth programs. It is also committing to donate another $250,000 in proceeds from future product sales and initiatives to fund educational programs focused on supporting Black girls.

A thread from Mattel in June, which followed this tweet, outlined specific commitments, and said, “Children cannot reach their full potential when the fields of play are unequal, unbalanced and unfair.”

Currently, 1 in 5 dolls in the Barbie lineup is Black. The brand promises to introduce a prominent Black lead character and to leverage the platform Barbie has as a role model to tackle conversations around race and racism.

“When we don’t say anything,” Barbie states in the video, “we’re just letting it continue.”

Mattel told CNN in a statement that the goal of this vlog episode is to help girls understand the current movement against racism and the importance of learning more about Black history.

“Barbie is championing gender equality to help close the racial injustice barrier girls face through the Dream Gap and this is one way the brand is addressing it,” Mattel said.