Perception and Reborn Dolls

Yinka's question reminded me how much I’ve wanted to post a lengthy blog entry about perception and reborn dolls.

Intro and Background:

I wrote a blog entry last summer about African-American versus biracial titled, “Reborn Ethnic, AA, A/A, Black, Biracial by Brooke Nicole”. (scroll down to read)

That particular blog entry was published to address collectors and artists who frequently wrote to me suggesting the dolls I created and labeled African-American “looked biracial” or “were biracial”, and therefore should only be described as biracial. The writers explained that the dolls did not fit into their [clearly limited] ideas of how African-Americans look.

That blog entry briefly explained why I see many of my reborn dolls as African-American. I gave my short definition of African-American/black American; and I used photographs of my colorful family members and celebrities to illustrate the dynamic range of facial features, hair textures and skin tones within the African-American race.

The following blog entry, “Perception and Reborn Dolls” expands on that topic.

Perception and Reborn Dolls

Reborn dolls may look real, but they are not real. They do not have a race or an ethnicity because they do not have parents. Reborn dolls are replicas of live human babies and children, and as I pointed out to Yinka, they can represent any human who bears the same features.

If I describe a doll as African-American, that’s what I perceive it to be. Others may see the doll as something else based on their own personal experiences, and that’s understandable. But to tell someone that their perception is incorrect based on your own perception is absurd.

As a newborn, my brown-haired, fair-skinned, 100% black/African American daughter was mistaken for a Caucasian baby at the hospital where she was born (scroll down to see a photo of my little diva). What should have been the most congratulatory days of my life turned out to be the exact opposite! I was subjected to snotty remarks and unwarranted, icy glares due to individual perceptions (and prejudices, but I digress). Those individuals obviously had never been exposed to fair-skinned African Americans. Perception is based on who you've seen, and who you know.

Just as I shared with Yinka, facial features, skin tones and hair textures are shared across ethnicities, especially during the newborn and infant stages. It’s quite an interesting concept! I see artist-labeled Caucasian reborns that uncannily resemble my daughter’s newborn photographs every day. I’d never dream of writing to these artists hinting that their dolls are not what they, as the artists, perceive them to be.

Thanks so much for reading! Stay tuned for a blog entry about the history of fair-skinned African Americans.


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