For all the horrid reaction to The Little Mermaid live action film – in which some have expressed outrage at Ariel being cast as Black actress Halle Bailey – Black children have been delighted to see someone that looks like them on screen.
Emotional reactions from some children show just how important representation is across all facets of life.
Diversity and inclusion still has a long way to go in books, films, toys, and a host of other categories.
A survey by toy brand Rainbow High reveals that over half of the parents polled believe diversity in toys is ‘crucial’ for helping children develop self-confidence.
They also believe it aids having a more positive attitude towards peers, especially when they look or behave differently. The survey suggests this is particularly important when looking at acceptance around disability.
Of those surveyed, 79% say diversity is something they consider when purchasing toys – and this figure rises to 88% for younger parents, aged 19 to 24.
The top three types of representation parents look for and would like to see more of are disability, ethnicity, and visible differences, such as conditions like vitiligo and albinism.
Many parents think that seeing a variety of characters and figures helps to normalise differences and move away from stereotypes, as 35% believe this can help prevent stigmatisation.
Over a third also say this can help improve children’s mental health.
Natalie Ambersley, a trustee at The Vitiligo Society, has the condition and says seeing yourself represented in a toy is vital for that child, helping to normalise how they view themselves and instills confidence.
She said seeing more toys with visible difference is ‘really important’.
She added: ‘It’s really important to raise awareness and its equally important toys like Rainbow High are diverse and inclusive so children can understand how everyone is unique and encourage others to feel confident in their skin.’
Diverse toys to shop
Rainbow High Doll with Vitiligo
Normalising the skin condition, this doll is designed to help instill confidence in those with vitiligo and help others get familiar with it.
Buy for £31.99
Barbie Fashionistas Doll
This doll with Black skin and braids is much needed in the world of dolls, which usually show white characters with blonde hair.
Buy for £13.99
Lundby Doll House Doll Wheelchair
A lack of disability exposure is a concern for parents, so this doll in a wheelchair is a good addition to a toy collection.
Buy for £22.70
Multicultural Hard-bodied Dolls
Engaging with Black-skinned toys should happen from the beginning – and this baby can be played with from 10 months old.
Buy for £24.99
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