Doc McStuffins, curly hair, and the gospel for little black girls

Unknown-1 The black girl hair problem is real; I do not mean managing it. Most of the hair that my daughter observes on television and movies –frozen I am talking to you ­– does not look like what she sees in the mirror every morning. The dolls, toys, and even the outlines of the little girls in coloring books, are clearly not modeled on girls like her. She used to come to me and say that she wanted hair like a princess, which meant she wanted straight hair. It takes constant encouragement to convince her that her curly hair is just as beautiful. I praise those curls like that they were hewn from gold and drip with the dew of heaven.

We are blessed to have a family that is aware and has helped create a “diverse” toy family. Doc McStuffins is a Godsend! Tonight she told me that God made her hair curly and her white friend’s hair straight.  Both were just as good. For years I have been engaged in a shadow war against the doll test. Praise God for small victories.

Since becoming a father, I have often thought about Dr. King’s words about his daughter and Funtown in the letter from a Birmingham Jail. He wrote about watching the, “ominous clouds of inferiority begin to form in her little mental sky.” I too watch for those clouds. I  bat them away with the God’s own words to her in the scriptures: she is fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm139:14). This is the good news for her.  Yes God loves her and forgives her four–year–old sins through the death of his Son on the cross. She knows that. But it just as important for her little mind now to know that the skin and hair she inhabits are gifts of God that, in their own way, reflect his glory.

Published by Dr. Esau McCaulley

Esau McCaulley is Assistant Professor of New Testament at Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL. His research and writing focuses on Pauline theology and the intersection of race, Christian identity, and the pursuit of social justice. He is also a priest in the Anglican Church in North America where he serves as Provincial Director for Leadership Development, which involves oversight of the recruitment and formation of clergy and lay leaders. He is one of the creators of Call and Response ministries, an organization committed to hosting conferences and creating resources for Black and Multi-Ethnic churches.

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