Out of the mouths of babes comes perfected praise, so goes the saying. Well, 2-year-old Sophia had wisdom to impart to a Target cashier about her choice of dolls, and Sophia’s mother, Brandi Benner, has a viral Facebook post on her hands as a result.
On the Facebook page of Brandi Benner, she published a post on March 31, describing a shopping trip to Target that she took with her 2-year-old daughter as a reward for successful potty-training for a month. Brandi told her daughter that she would be able to pick out a special reward from Target after a month of going “poop on the potty.” Sophia indulged in her “obsession,” as Benner termed Sophia’s love of dolls, and chose a new doll. However, when Sophia and Brandi made it to the checkout line in Target, they were faced with a controversial cashier who questioned Sophia’s choice of an African-American doll.
“…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.”
As a result of the exchange, Benner’s Facebook post has gone viral and received more than 465,000 reactions. The post has been shared nearly 200,000 times on Facebook alone and has received more than 28,000 comments. Brandi closed out her viral Facebook post with hashtags that stated, “It’s on the inside that counts” and “All skin is beautiful,” as well as advising others to teach love and diversity because “the next generation is watching.”
Brandi credits Sophia’s love of the doll Doc McStuffins, as seen in the above photo, for identifying with diverse dolls who are physicians. Benner said that Sophia is already a doctor in her own mind, so the doctor doll she chose was par for the course.
As reported by CNN, Benner shopped at a Target store near their South Carolina home when the controversy arose after Sophia took 20 minutes picking out the doll she wanted in the toy aisle. Brandi said that Sophia loves performing doctor checkups to visitors to their home and to other dolls.
The nearly 3-year-old Sophia was so eager to take her new doll home that she wouldn’t even let go of the doll until Brandi and Sophia made it to the Target cashier to pay for the doll. However, the cashier’s questioning of the little girl was unexpected by both Sophia and her mom. Instead of viewing any differences in their skin tones as a negative thing, Sophia pointed out the similarities between her and the doll to the cashier: namely, that the doll had pretty hair, was a pretty girl just like Sophia and was a doctor with a cool stethoscope.
Brandi also credits the TV cartoon Doc McStuffins as Sophia’s source of knowing the word “stethoscope.”
Benner was happy that Sophia spoke up for her own choices to the Target cashier and wasn’t discouraged. Meanwhile, with the overwhelming support Brandi has received on Facebook, she has saw fit to ignore a few negative comments, choosing not to engage with negative commenters.
According to CNN, children aren’t born with preferences concerning race and issues such as gender, but it’s a learned behavior over time that can be unlearned. Meanwhile, Sophia just wants her new doctor doll to be with her wherever she goes, according to her mother.
[Featured Image by Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Peabody Awards]