The Disney Channel has made an inspiring effort towards minority uplift, creating an animated television series that focuses on the MD dreams of an African American girl. Doc McStuffins, now preparing for its second season, makes it easier for black parents to find an appropriate and relatable TV show for their children to watch. Disney Channel recognized how hard it is for parents to find shows that can benefit their children, so it created Doc McStuffins, a brown-skinned pig-tailed girl who sets the standard for African American youth and their future ambitions.
The show depicts an African-American title character with dreams of becoming a doctor. But until McStuffins undergoes the necessary schooling, she is satisfied with running an at-home clinic for stuffed animals and dolls. No, the cartoon character isn’t saving actual human lives, but she is reenacting an enriched example of play time that sends a positive message to minority girls.
“When we made her an African American girl, we hoped it would be a positive role model that wasn’t really out there and would be great for little girls,” said series creator Chris Nee on Huffington Post. What surprised Nee the most about the series’ debut was the strong positive reception she received from adults. Dr. Myiesha Taylor, a board-certified emergency room physician, watches the show with her 4-year-old daughter Hana. “It’s so nice to see this child of color in a starring role, not just in the supporting cast,” she said.
Statistics prove that young girls across the country struggle with maintaining an interest in science and medical fields. Young girls are often discouraged in the classroom more than their male counterparts. According to the American Medical Association’s Physical Characteristics and Distribution in the U.S., 2012 Edition, less than 2 percent of U.S. doctors were African American females. This percentage was calculated from nearly 300,000 female physicians. Chris Nee was worried young girls wouldn’t respond to the Doc McStuffins, citing troubling studies that showed females developing a negative attitude towards science at a very young age.
Reminiscent of The Cosby Show, Doc McStuffins displays a positive depiction of an African American family who commit to an occupation that require a college degree. Dr. Myeisha Taylor said she sees too many black characters who aspire to join entertainment, sports or fashion industries in order to attain success, not education and a career that benefits others. “There’s not enough imagery on television,” Taylor said, “to show kids and their parents there are other paths to follow” besides Lebron James and Beyonce.
Doc McStuffins is produced by Ireland-based Brown Bag Films and airs on the new 24-hour Disney Junior channel and on the Disney Channel.