You may have heard about Ty making the Obama kids into Beanie Babies. (Ty, of course, claims the names are just a coincidence.)
My first reaction was amazed disgust. But Ruth Marcus makes an excellent point:
...It's impossible to read about "Sweet Sasha" and "Marvelous Malia" without being reminded of the famous psychology experiment cited in Brown v. Board of Education. Offered dolls of differing skin tones, black children overwhelmingly chose to play with the white doll; they picked the white doll when asked to identify the "nice" doll and selected the brown doll when asked which was the "bad" doll.
When a high school student named Kiri Davis repeated Clark's experiment with 4- and 5-year-olds at a Harlem child-care center for her 2005 documentary, "A Girl Like Me," she found heartbreakingly similar results.
In the video, a little girl in a lavender sweatshirt identifies the "bad" and "nice" dolls. "Why does that look bad?" Davis asks. "Because it's black," the girl replies. "And why do you think that's a nice doll?" "Because she's white."
Then comes the real gut punch. "Can you give me the doll that looks like you?" The girl touches the white doll. Her hand lingers on it for a few seconds. Slowly, she slides the dark-skinned doll across the table.
Then again, if hawking "Sweet Sasha" and "Marvelous Malia" encourages children of any hue to want an African American doll, or to admire two African American girls whose father just happens to be president, maybe that's not such a bad trade-off.