When 2-year-old Sophia found out she could pick out a gift for herself after finishing potty training, she knew exactly what to get--a potty training doll.
Specifically, she had her eye on quite an extensive collection of dolls at the Target close to her South Carolina home. And when her mom drove her to the store, she spent about 20 minutes figuring out what doll she wanted for her prize.
"She kept going back to the doctor doll, because in her mind, she is already a doctor," her mom, Brandi Benner said. "She loves giving checkups, and if you come in the house, she'll tell you that's the first thing you need."
This doctor doll also happened to be black. Sophia is white. And she was so excited about her selection, she wouldn't let go of the doll on the way to the checkout.
But the cashier had something to say about it.
Nick and I told Sophia that after 1 whole month of going poop on the potty, she could pick out a special prize at Target. She, of course, picked a new doll. The obsession is real. While we were checking out, the cashier asked Sophia if she was going to a birthday party. We both gave her a blank stare. She then pointed to the doll and asked Sophia if she picked her out for a friend. Sophia continued to stare blankly and I let the cashier know that she was a prize for Sophia being fully potty trained. The woman gave me a puzzled look and turned to Sophia and asked, "Are you sure this is the doll you want, honey?" Sophia finally found her voice and said, "Yes, please!" The cashier replied, "But she doesn't look like you. We have lots of other dolls that look more like you." I immediately became angry, but before I could say anything, Sophia responded with, "Yes, she does. She's a doctor like I'm a doctor. And I'm a pretty girl and she's a pretty girl. See her pretty hair? And see her stethoscope?" Thankfully the cashier decided to drop the issue and just answer, "Oh, that's nice." This experience just confirmed my belief that we aren't born with the idea that color matters. Skin comes in different colors just like hair and eyes and every shade is beautiful. #itswhatsontheinsidethatcounts #allskinisbeautiful #teachlove #teachdiversity #thenextgenerationiswatching
The cashier asked Sophia this question: Wouldn't she rather have a doll that looked like her?
Before Brandi could say a word, the tot had a response at the ready. And we think it's pretty perfect.
"She does!" Sophia said. "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?"
Brandi was so happy she didn't have to defend her daughter's choice--and that Sophia wasn't affected by the cashier's remark.
"If she was another child, that could have discouraged her," Brandi said.
Feeling inspired by little Sophia's perspective, Brandi decided to share the experience on her personal Facebook page. It's now reached more than 140,000 shares and more than 19,000 comments--most of which have been overwhelmingly supportive.
Brandi's lack of engagement with the few negative comments stems from a lesson she wants to share with her kids. While it's a simple one, it couldn't be more uplifting.
"I just want to teach my kids love, and that's included in my own actions," Brandi said.
Way to go, Brandi! We think you're doing a stand-up job.