Wednesday, 5 April 2017

2 Year Old Girl Sophia teaches about bias

Girls & dolls 2-year-old and her new doll teach important lesson about bias.

Having recently finished her potty-training, 2-year-old South Carolina native Sophia Benner was promised a prize. To celebrate her accomplishment, her mother, Brandi Benner took the young girl to a Target store near their home so that she could choose her reward direct from the shelves. “She loves giving checkups, and if you come in the house, she’ll tell you that’s the first thing you need,” said Benner of Sophia, who spent more than 20 minutes perusing the toy aisle for the perfect doll to add to her collection. “She kept going back to the doctor doll, because in her mind, she is already a doctor.” Doll in hand, mother and daughter proceeded to the checkout counter where the clerk asked Sophia a question that confused both mother and daughter: Wouldn’t she rather have a doll that looked like her? The doll that Sophia chose was black. Sophia is white.

But Sophia, completely nonplussed by the cashier’s question had an immediate answer: “She does! She’s a doctor; I’m a doctor. She is a pretty girl; I am a pretty girl. See her pretty hair? See her stethoscope?” Incredibly proud of her daughter’s answer, Benner credits her correct use of words like “stethoscope” to the influence of the popular kid’s show character Doc McStuffins, but defers to her daughter’s own moral compass for the sagacity of her answer. “If she was another child, that could have discouraged her.” To Sophia, an aspiring doctor, it simply didn’t matter what color the doll was because what they had in common was more important.

Brenner feels she and Sophia’s experience is important to drive home the point that biases are not inherent but learned.

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