My White Daughter’s Black Baby Doll

My white daughter’s favorite toy is a black baby doll.

Here’s the story: Amanda was taking our three children through the international hoarders’ Mecca that you might know as Walmart.  With just a couple of items to purchase, the boys had convinced Amanda to take a quick trip through the toy department.  As they passed by numerous items, Gloria began to reach out and scream for a baby doll.  As Amanda held different ones up to her to see for which one was she clamoring, she would emphatically shake her head at the dolls she didn’t want.

She finally got the baby doll she wanted – this cute, cuddly, smiley, black baby doll.  She picked it up, began to hug the doll, and started to say in a soothing manner,”Oohh, wee.  Oohh, wee.”  After some giggles and a few moments of cuddling, Amanda tried to take the doll back from her.  Bad mistake.  She clutched onto this baby for dear life and began to scream as if she was being attacked.

While Amanda tried unsuccessfully to distract her long enough to put the doll back, Eli came up with a solution.

“Mom, can we buy her that baby doll?”

“Eli, we can’t buy everything that we want.  She will be OK.”

“But Mom, I think she likes that baby doll because it looks like me.  Can I buy it for her?”

“Do you have the money with you?”

“Well, no.  But you could buy it now, and I have some money from my birthday in my piggy bank that I could give you when we get home.  Please, Mom.”


Needless to say, this baby has found a home at the Agnew residence.  And no matter how hard the boys try to lure her away from the doll with other white baby dolls, she still has her favorite.

Eli says that she loves it so much because it looks like him.  I agree with him.  She’s smitten with both of her brothers, but this particular baby doll does have similar features as Eli.  As I watch the way she kisses and hugs that baby doll, it’s as if she is repaying Eli for all the kisses and hugs he gives her.  It’s almost as if she is watching over this baby doll in honor of the way her big brother has watched over her so well.

As Amanda walked through Walmart, she was greeted with the usual stares that our family gets plus a few extra this time.  The lady checking her out looked troubled and confused by the whole exchange of just trying to tilt the baby doll out of Gloria’s clinched fists long enough to scan the item.  Amanda was just trying to stop laughing long enough to pay and navigate out into the parking lot.

Some people will think this baby doll in our home is odd.  It’s the same people who think our family is odd.  As a multiethnic family, we have grown used to questioning looks from strangers, but we are not accountable to them.  We are accountable to God.  And, I believe, that He thinks our family looks quite normal to Him.

I rejoice that my daughter loves both of her brothers equally.

I rejoice that my children see an embrace from a white person or a black person no differently.

I rejoice that my children are learning at an early age to look past differences and look at one’s heart.

I rejoice that my family celebrates diversity instead of condemning it.

And I rejoice over this black baby doll that serves as a daily reminder that God has called our family to something different, and I wouldn’t change that for one moment.


11 thoughts on “My White Daughter’s Black Baby Doll”

  1. Travis I rejoice everytime I see Amanda out with the children! I stare and wave because I read your blogs and know your experiences…Thank you for raising your children to love others the way God loves us.

  2. Peace & blessings Travis,

    Thank you for such an amazing story. I wanted to offer my opinion on your children and the way they see color. It’s not that your beautiful daughter is colorblind; please know that according to child psychology research, it’s been proven that she and all young children ‘see’ color differences. What’s GREAT about children is that they see nothing WRONG with the differences in our skin tones. Our family is African-American and my parents always tell me about the first time I spoke about a white girl about my age (3 years old). I referred to her as a ‘vanilla’ girl. My mom asked me, “why did you call her vanilla?” My response, “Because her skin looks like vanilla ice cream”, one of my favorite things for dessert – again, I saw her color difference and associated it with something positive. Your daughter saw the black baby doll and associated it with someone she loves, her brother Eli. My parents emphasized that we’re all God’s children from day 1 and a parents message is stronger than any other that your children may encounter.

    • Thanks PJ. Great insight. I actually linked to another post. I know she is not literally colorblind. Her perception is just what you mentioned. I was making the point that mentally she is colorblind and how I wish so many others were as well!

  3. Greetings, I am a booking producer for Arise TV in New York. Please contact me about your interest and availability for an interview on Monday regarding this post. We are very interested in hearing more of your story. Thanks! Kuae Mattox,

  4. Greetings Pastor Agnew, really hoping to reach you asap this evening regarding our segment tomorrow on Arise TV. Please contact me to let me know your status. We tape LIVE tomorrow and need to make sure we are all set with visuals. Thanks again! Kuae

  5. This story brought tears to my eyes. What a beautiful story. You can tell she cherishes and loves that doll. Keep up the good work with your children.

  6. Love this story so very much! It is heartening to see some good news. Some people have no idea of what is REALLY important. This to me is what life is all about.

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