JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Toy manufacturer, Mattel Inc, is making a statement with a recent vlog.
In the video, Barbie is sending a message to children about how to tackle racism and be a White ally.
Experts say the most important thing for parents to do is to have honest conversations and be prepared to answer their children’s questions without shame.
“Children are listening. They hear and they absorb,” said Stephanie Peyton, Children’s Home Society of Florida.
In the three minute video, Barbie tackles racism with her friend Nikki. The message aired to nearly 9.7 million subscribers on Barbie’s YouTube page.
Peyton says it’s important that children hear these kinds of discussion and activism isn’t determined by age.
“Children can be activists. Children can contribute in their own ways whether it’s just making sure they’re teaching their peers; you know at an age-appropriate peer to peer level. And certainly, as they get older, they will tend to stay involved in those conversations, and question things and not take things at face value and stay the status quo,” Peyton said.
Peyton says parents need to validate their children’s concerns by having difficult conversations.
“When we don’t validate them the opposite, of course, is being invalidating. Saying things like ‘Don’t worry about that you’ll understand it when you’re older. Oh, those are just things that they are the way they are.’ When we invalidate them and discount those children’s questions and concerns that can do some real damage,” said Peyton.
Here are a few resources for parents seeking to better navigate these conversations with their children around race, diversity, privilege, and social activism: