My Child’s Private School Is Diverse In That There Are Black Dolls
Choosing a private school that is as progressive as it is overpriced enough to keep regular people out is stressful. Most respectable cities have a laundry list of institutions focused on molding the fragile child mind into the perfect “woke bae-by,” but the cost of creating the future’s next great farmer’s market logo designer or Snapchat auteur often leaves out the POC we aggressively claim to support while also avoiding their neighborhoods after dark.
When my Augustine was accepted to The Tisdale Cherub’s Academy (after a waitlist that began before she was even an embryo) my husband and I were delighted. The $50,000 bribe to choose our perfect offspring over a prospective Kennedy had worked, and we dreamt of all the children with whom she would cultivate lifelong friendships in order to exploit later in life for career gain. Just as importantly, we hoped she would learn that all genders and races are equal. However, as we dropped her off for her first day (Augustine dressed in the latest Petit Bateau with the sweetest cat-eared beret) we quickly noticed that the other children were all just as blonde as she was—if not more so.
All White Is Not All Right
Would our child be forced to grow up in a homogenous bubble, unexposed to the perspectives of others? How long before she knows what black hair feels like? Before she can impress our family members with her short phrases in Mandarin? What if we’ve cost her the chance to ever be invited to an Indian wedding? My dreams of smug school photos that look like tiny United Nations meetings were shattered.
I thought this was America! Where were all the non-white children hiding? Public school?! I considered turning right around to the headmaster’s office and demand a refund until my husband reminded me that we ruined a Kennedy’s life to get here and there was no jumping ship now. I managed to compose myself long enough to rub some lavender essential oil under my nose and come to terms with the fact that Augustine would be going to school with children who looked so much like herself that they might even be prettier.
From Doc McStuffins To Addy From American Girl
Disappointed, we headed into the classroom so as not to ruin Augustine’s special day or make the other children feel guilty about being white. Thankfully, that’s when we saw them. In the corner, nestled among the collections of the illustrated Bukowski for Kids books and gluten-free finger paint, sat an array of African-American dolls, from Misty Copeland’s signature Barbie, to Doc McStuffins, to Addy from American Girl.
“I see you’ve found our black dolls,” explained Augustine’s teacher, Miss White. “At Tisdale Cherub’s Academy, we embrace diversity.” (Even better, I’m pretty sure Miss White is a quarter Japanese, which will be excellent when we need to show her photos from our Tokyo vacation next summer.)
A school with a diverse collection of dolls for our white children to make up their own marginalized stories for is what America needs. I wish I could have been as lucky as Augustine when I was her age.