Having a certain percentage of "multicultural" or "diversity" themed objects in an early childhood classroom is part of reaching accreditation standards. This can be accomplished through pictures, books, dolls, paints, etc.
But here's my issue, producers of early childhood classroom products have caught on to this accreditation standard of needing diversity in the classroom. They've started producing items and titling them with the word "Multicultural". Sounds pretty good right?
It is, don't get me wrong. But just yesterday I was thumbing through a catalog, and noticed something about all the multicultural dolls. They're not multicultural. Not really. They contained one Caucasian, one Black, one Asian, and one Hispanic.
Yes, they meet accreditation criteria of 'representation of a minimum of 3 races'. But in all honesty, how many of us work with people who fit purely into the standards of Caucasian, Black, Asian, and Hispanic? What about Native Americans and Indians? What about all of the children I work with whose parents are different races? (And why the heck are their "Caucasian" dolls blonde haired and blue eyed?)
These children are getting the message, that while we have a diverse and multicultural world, they don't have a place in it. As parents and educators we are having to work even harder to let these children know that they do belong, they have a place, and we want them there.
It's a step up from where we used to be, but the manufacturers of these 'multicultural' items have a ways to go in order to win me over.