DZODZOMENYO | A Ghanaian American Girl Story

In elementary school, there was one other black girl in my year, and she had the Addy Walker American Girl: a fugitive slave doll who’d escaped with her mother from a plantation in North Carolina to Philadelphia during the Civil War. My mother wouldn’t buy us the Addy doll, telling us that we wouldn’t hold a slave doll and betoken a painful heritage that wasn’t ours — a strict edict heavily loaded with implications about identity. Still wanting me to be happy and fit in, she did what any mother would: she bought me an Elizabeth Cole doll. Growing up, my parents made sure my sisters and I knew to never allow anyone to classify us as African American, a term that typically refers to descendants of enslaved black people. Not because there’s anything inferior about any other diasporan identity, but simply because I’m not.