Personally speaking, conscious uncoupling sounds a hell of a lot better than what I’ve managed in my own life. Falling out with the person with whom you created children is a heartbreak that I can’t even describe. You can’t drink it away or find someone else so that it doesn’t matter any more. It will always matter. It’s a feeling you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy, although you don’t even have to, because the person you loved has already slipped into that role.
It still makes me flush with embarrassment thinking about it. I was five years old, maaybe 6 because I think it was in second grade, and all I wanted for Christmas was the figure skating Barbie doll. I wasn’t that into Barbies as a whole, but this one had a little gear that you wound up and when…
The only racist part of the story seems to be you never saw black Barbie in the ads. Other than that, if the Barbie had been green or blue 6 year old you probably would have had the same reaction. That’s not racist.
Unfortunately you were just the victim of bad parenting. I say that as someone who is guilty of bad parenting countless times, despite the best of intentions. If I’ve learned nothing else, I know you don’t pull a switch on your child’s top gift items. You either get what’s on the list or you don’t get it. If you do substitute, you should have a good reason (like they were out of white Barbie). If you want to teach a lesson on race relations with your gift, you buy a white Barbie AND a black Barbie and let them exist in harmony.
I certainly can’t tell you how to feel but the shame seems misplaced. Children are taught racism, misogyny and general intolerance by people they respect (family, friends, etc.) or experience. So unless that black Barbie made you resent all impossibly proportioned black women I think you can feel good about yourself for dodging a bullet.