Nothing is as pure as a childhood friendship.
Do you remember your childhood best friend?
Whether you're still friends into adulthood or not, there's no doubt that you can still recall some beautiful moments you've shared with them.
And if you're a parent, what's more heartwarming than seeing your child build loving relationships with their friends? That's what one Redditor has been lucky enough to witness—her daughter's growing bond with another young girl.
Unfortunately though, some people out there do not understand affection in friendships, and it led to some trouble for the Original Poster (OP). After her daughter and her best friend's new toys became the topic of gossip on Facebook, the OP turned to Reddit's "Am I the A**hole" (AITA) forum, to get some impartial insight on how she was handling things.
The OP set the scene by describing the beautiful friendship between the two girls.
"This is a throwaway account, using fake names, and this incident happened last summer before everything went to sh*t."
"My daughter (Sarah) and her best friend (Alissa) have known each other since birth. A pregnant woman moved into the house next to mine, we bonded over pregnancy, and we gave birth 2 days apart. The girls have been inseparable ever since. They hang out every day, they want conjoined birthday parties, we even built a door in our fence so they can play in both backyards without having to walk around the front of the house."
The OP and the other mom decided to treat their daughters to a special gift—American Girl Dolls.
American Girl Dolls come in pre-made characters, but children can also choose to customize their dolls. Usually the doll is customized to look like the child it is for.
Sarah and Alissa decided to do the latter, and honored each other in the process.
"They have always wanted American Girl Dolls. They're expensive, so we decided for a kindergarten graduation present we'd take them to American Girl Place. My daughter saw a doll that resembled Alissa and decided she wanted to create a doll that looked like her, and Alissa would do the same. My daughter is White and Alissa is Black. She designs the doll, the girls have a blast, it was so cute."
But things turned sour at a graduation party that the OP threw for Sarah's entire class.
"Onto the problem. I threw a small graduation party at my house for all the kids in the class and their parents. Sarah proudly shows off her new toy to anyone who will pay attention to her, telling everyone she made it look like Alissa. Two moms have a weird look on their face when she shows them but I don't think much of it."
"I heard a lot of people talking about the dolls but they'd stop when I came by. I assumed it was because they were expensive? Taking the girls into the city wasn't cheap but I saved really hard. The party otherwise went well and everyone went home."
The OP didn't give the opinions of the other parents a second thought.
Besides, it wasn't their business if she wanted to splurge on her daughter.
But then, 4th of July came...
"The next day one of the moms posted on facebook about how buying a doll of a different race was cultural appropriation and whitewashing. It wasn't directed at me but all the parents were agreeing in the comments. I didn't say anything about it. We had another party for the 4th of July. Sarah invited a bunch of her friends from school and only Alissa came."
"I figured everyone else had other plans but again, another facebook post about how the parents didn't want their kids hanging out with someone who 'takes black dolls away from black girls.' I don't think I'm TA but I felt horrible that Sarah and Alissa couldn't see their friends. The situation cooled off as all the kids went off to different elementary schools and they have new friends now but a facebook memory prompted a new argument. AITA?"
The judgement on Reddit was unanimous across the board - the OP was NTA (Not the A**hole).
"NTA, that's some grade A bullsh*t. That's not what white washing is." - YessssFinally
Merriam-Webster's defines whitewashing as, "to alter (something) in a way that favors, features, or caters to white people." Whitewashing often comes up in discussions regarding Hollywood productions.
Redditors thought there was nothing negative about a child getting a doll that looked like someone she loves.
"NTA. Offering your kids toys or dolls that look like all kinds of people IS A GOOD THING." - sassyfontaine
"NTA. what the hell? in no way is that whitewashing or cultural appropriation." - _thea13
"NTA. That is so freaking ridiculous. Only a terrible racist piece of crap thinks kids can only play with dolls of their own race."
"Sincerely, a grown up white kid who adored my Addy and Josephina AG dolls as a kid." - Dontrocktheboat1986
"NTA - This isn't cultural appropriation by any means. This is someone who wants her dolls to resemble her friend. There's nothing wrong with a child's dolls being diverse, at all... and she didn't take a black doll away from a black girl, those dolls are mass-produced and odds are they make a ton more of all of them (not just the black one) than they ever sell."- Annorax10
Users thought that the girls wanting dolls that looked like each other was beautiful.
"NTA. I'm assuming most of the Facebook commenters are white because most people of color (myself included) actually encourage this to show that skin color shouldn't matter." - GoldenFrog14
"NTA at all. I think it's adorable that your daughter wanted a doll that looked like her best friend. I wanted Addy so bad when I was a kid but she came out after I had gotten Kirsten for Christmas and my parents couldn't afford two. Those mothers are being ridiculous, no one is 'taking away black dolls from black girls' in this scenario- there isn't a finite number and your daughter getting one meant another little girl couldn't."
"Edit: Also, whitewashing means to cast white actors for roles/characters that are POC, so that claim makes absolutely no sense." - nkh86
"NTA. Honestly, what sort of white nonsense is this?"
"What you did for your daughter was a beautiful thing! It encourages her love for her friend, and shows her that black girls are beautiful and deserve love and care (through her tending her doll). These other parents are being ridiculous. You didn't take a doll from another black girl (like, da fuq?), and what would it be whitewashing?"- PlushieTushie
"NTA. Your kids don't see race, they just see a doll that looks like their best friend. It's innocent. I used to know a little girl who wanted a doll with freckles because her babysitter had freckles. I think your daughter's choice in doll is really sweet." - heatherhobbit
While the OP was reassured, let's just hope those other moms figure out the difference between whitewashing and promoting diversity.
*If you enjoyed this article, you can read more like it by clicking on the AITA link below.*