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August 13th, 2017 2 Comments
Doll Houses by Dwayne Morgan
posted by: Dwayne Morgan

Doll Houses

 

Sydney, age four, white;

Sydney,

Which doll is pretty?

The white one.

Rebecca, age four, white;

Rebecca,

Which doll is mean?

The black one.

Natasha, age four, black;

Natasha,

Which doll is nice?

The white one.

Kesha, age four, black;

Kesha,

Which doll is ugly?

The black one.

Kesha,

Which doll looks like you?

The black one.

By the age of four,

The seed of racism, self-hatred,

And inferiority,

Is already subconsciously,

Planted in the mind,

Like cotton,

Like sugar cane,

Like cash crops,

That will benefit those who sow it,

More than those who grow it;

Don’t I know it,

As the father of a black girl,

Who doesn’t see herself

On store shelves;

These, are little black girl blues;

You can find darker hued

versions of white dolls,

That look nothing like you;

straight noses and hair,

forcing parents to straighten things out

removing the kinks of self-doubt,

Becoming vigilant,

Parenting becoming militant,

But only if they get it,

Only if they understand the damage being done,

And the need to guard her self-concept,

By any means necessary;

Birthday invitations included post-scripts

That read,

Please no white dolls,

Which brought on their fair share of conversations;

Protection, labeled as reverse hatred;

We could have saved more,

If only they knew that they were slaves.

The few dolls,

Of a lighter hue,

that managed to cross our border wall,

Soon wound up missing,

Never to be seen again,

Like Native women in Canada;

It’s funny,

This thing called race,

And how it plays out day to day,

And has us worshipping images,

That look nothing like us,

Whether dolls on store shelves,

Or their version of Jesus,

But these little things,

Are always so much bigger,

Which is why she’ll forget cartoons,

But remembers every detail from Hidden Figures.

Too often we shake this off as nothing,

But I saw her desire to become a doctor,

After watching Doc McStuffins,

Because representation matters;

It matters to see yourself reflected

In the world in which you live,

Not as a cliché, a stereotype,

But just normal and positive.

Maybe that’s too much to ask,

When the fabric of our economic quilt,

Happens to be anti-black,

So it’s on us,

To show our children

That there’s nothing that they lack.

Periodically I’ll ask,

If you could,

Is there anything about yourself

That you would change.

At age ten,

Her answer has always remained the same;

Nothing, I’m pretty awesome.

Yes, you are,

I always reply,

Black fist of pride,

Held high on the inside,

But emanating out,

Proud,

That there’s one less black girl,

Who refuses to play

And be shaped,

by society’s doll house.

Dwayne Morgan

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COMMENTS -----------------------------------------------

  1. Judi Symes says:

    As always ,Dwayne, you do the teach without the preach. You have spoken and I have heard.
    Best,
    Judi







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