Growing up, our family self-identified as mutts. It was the standard answer that my family < Father (Russian – Polish with a bit of Irish) and Mother (Lithuanian – Austrian)> gave when asked “where are you from?” Back in the ’50’s, this was a common question in the racially and culturally diverse neighborhood of New York City where I grew up.
Fast forward fifty years, and I’m scratching my head in this very ‘politically correct’ society we live in now, and I’ was trying to figure out how to best describe our dolls that were neither Black nor White, but in between. No one had ever asked us for an ‘in-between’ doll.
President Obama (Black and White) – in a conversation about the first family’s search for a dog – had just declared to the whole world that he was a ‘Mutt.’
I didn’t think I wanted to use Mutt.
“Mutt Dolls for Sale!”
“Get your Mutt Dolls at The Pattycake Doll Company!”
At work there were two White women with Black husbands who had young girls. I asked them both: “If you were looking for dolls for your children on the internet, what would you type into the search window?”
Both said “mixed kids!” 100% agreement, right? Perfect!
I liked that a lot better than Mutt, except…. when I researched the search engine algorithms it was a ‘no-go.’ Google, Yahoo and Bing all agreed – practically nobody actually searched for ‘mixed kids dolls.’
No, what Google, Yahoo, Bing and the other search engines seemed to agree upon was that the words ‘Biracial Dolls’ was the way to go.
We’ve since added the words ‘multicultural,’ ‘multiracial’ and yes ‘mixed kids’ to our descriptions as well. The only thing we’ve never done is describe our dolls as mutts.