"Doc McStuffins" Offers A Healthy Dose of Diversity

“Doc McStuffins,” which first aired in March on the Disney channel, has attracted a growing audience of children ages 2 to 7. “Doc McStuffins” is not only getting praise from children for it’s fun-loving characters and catchy songs, but it has also sparked the interest of parents who are excited to have a positive role model for Black-American girls. The show is about a 6-year-old Black-American girl who pretends to be a doctor to her toys by giving them check-ups and diagnosing their symptoms. When she is stumped by a symptom, she has a “consultation” with her mom, who is a doctor. Parents seem to praise the fact that while Doc McStuffins pretends to be a doctor, her mom actually is a doctor. Parents like the idea that “playing” doctor does not have to be the end of a little girl’s dream. She can follow in her mom’s footsteps and aspire to be a practicing physician or really anything that she wants to be. The shows endorsement of aspiring to become a doctor is even more significant because currently less than two percent of doctors nationwide are black women.

Another benefit of the show is that it may help ease the fear in children of going to the doctor. The start of the show begins with a theme song that goes, “The Doc is in and she’ll fix you up. If you’re a toy, then you’re in luck. It’s okay, don’t be afraid. The Doc really knows her stuff!” Doc McStuffins gives the injured or sick toy a diagnosis that usually ends in “itis,” and she draws a picture of the symptoms in the “big book of boo-boos.” After the toys get better they sing another very catchy song that goes, “I feel better, so much better. Thank you, Doc, for takin’ all the ouches away. I didn’t feel so good ’till… You fixed me like I knew that you would. I feel better, so much better now!” While the show does not focus much on education, it makes up for it with catchy songs and positive messages about health and hygiene.

A Crossroads of America Adoption Conference speaker, Kimberly Wyman, who is an adoptive mother and advocate, comments, “My family loves Doc McStuffins for many reasons…the music, the caring and kind nature of Doc, the stuffed animals and toys with their quirky characteristics and because of the diversity of characters. Having positive role models is so important for kids and it’s a huge bonus if they resemble their looks – especially at such a sensitive age when everything is on the table for examination and discussion.”

Disney recently announced that “Doc McStuffins” would return for a second season and the show joins the ranks of other diverse Disney characters, such as Tiana from Princess and the Frog, Mulan, Aladdin, Quincy from “Little Einsteins” and Pocahontas. Parents are excited about another diverse role model for their children. It is important that children in our culture are exposed to and educated about different cultures and ethnic groups. Positive educational conversations about differences should happen as early as possible. Toddlers start recognizing skin color around the ages of two and three. It is important to educate children early, and as a parent you may avoid some uncomfortable situations at the store when your toddler loudly asks, “Why is his skin brown?” or “Why does her hair look different than mine?”

A home environment that embraces diversity can help children appreciate the richness of the world we live in. Children need to learn how to interact with a variety of people; because the truth is, our nation is made up of people from all kinds of backgrounds and different cultures. Many of the families and children that MLJ Adoptions serve come from different countries around the world. Transracial families are more attuned to the importance of embracing cultural differences and they also find that they have to work hard at educating others and standing up for their differences. Whether your family is diverse or not the world we live in is and it is important to embrace and celebrate the differences in others.

Photo used with permission.

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MLJ Adoptions is a Non-Profit, Hague-Accredited adoption service provider located in Indianapolis, Indiana, working in Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Pacific Isles. We are passionate about serving children in need.