The state of Colorado has proposed a long list of new regulations for day care centers, including a requirement that they provide dolls of at least three different races (not to mention other rules governing issues that include the amount of juice and snack served, and providers' shoulder coverage).
Some child care providers in the state aren't too happy about it. One day care owner told a local news station why she's against the proposal: "They are infringing on a lot of our rights. […] We're not giving parents a choice. We're not giving children a choice. We're not giving caregivers a choice."
We'd hope that day care providers would want to make doll choices reflecting what the country actually looks like. Really, why wouldn't you? And is it that hard? But we all know that that's not where inclusion and equality begin or end. (Remember the Kenneth Clark doll study, which has been re-created in recent years? Most of those black kids didn't seem particularly inspired by the black doll. In fact, other parts of their experience in the real world made them dislike it.)
And any discussion of race and ethnicity issues in the context of playtime feels almost silly, given the ongoing educational disparities faced by kids of color in this country.
As this story develops, we predict a sideshow of a debate about the government "infringing on rights," and a backlash against multiculturalism that distracts from real issues of equality that have nothing to do with the toy corner.