Thursday, March 11, 2010

Black Barbie Doll Price Drop Stirs Unrest

Finally there’s a new ruckus in the news to fill the void left there by other boring controversies involving amorous golfers, politicians, athletes, entertainers and Hollywood types. What is the subject of this chatter? It is a Barbie doll. Specifically, it is a black Barbie doll by the name of Ballerina Teresa.

A recent news story reveals that Wal-Mart has incurred the wrath of activists because the retail giant reduced the price of this doll by $2 while keeping the prices of the white dolls the same. Clearly they are sending a message here, right? They are, according to Thelma Dye, the executive director of the Northside Center for Child Development. She was quoted as saying that the "implication of lowering the price is that it's devaluing the black doll."

A Wal-Mart spokeswoman countered this racist allegation by emphasizing that “both are great dolls, but the price was cut $2 for a black Ballerina Teresa Barbie from the $5.93 for the white version because the black Barbies weren’t selling. Pricing like items differently is part of inventory management in retailing,” she added. Despite this logical explanation, Dye warns that engaging in this type of pricing strategy “can have collateral damage.”

Uh oh, Wal-Mart! Sounds like someone is on to your segregationist plans! Are you scared, Wal-Mart? Do you dare risk the wrath of Thelma or will you continue to court “collateral damage” by persisting in this highly suspicious principle of economics known as supply and demand? Just how many of your executive officers are affiliated with the Ku Klux Klan? Is there a KKK discount? And how much is it? Inquiring minds demand to know the truth.

Everyone knows that Wal-Mart is headquartered in Arkansas, which arguably is one of the most progressive states (next to Mississippi) and is at the heart of racial diversity in this country. (Hee hee! I knew I couldn’t say that with a straight typeface!) Nonetheless, it would be ridiculous to think that someone in their marketing department would be racially motivated to lower the price on a black doll while leaving the price alone for a white doll. After all, the guiding premise of the company is greed and more greed and lowering prices for any reason other than to improve profits would be against their core principles.

A Los Angeles sociology professor, Lisa Wade, was quoted in the article saying that Wal-Mart could have determined “that it’s important we don’t send a message that we value blackness less than whiteness,” but noted that the black dolls might not be as popular because white parents are less likely than black parents to purchase dolls of a different race for their children.

But what about light-skinned black dolls versus dark-skinned black dolls? Has anyone done the research into the sales trends of these dolls? (Sounds like a great masters thesis, doesn’t it?) How would an X-Men “Storm” doll do against a Wesley Snipes “Blade” doll? Does the buying public value lighter skin moreso than darker skin? And how confusing then is it to buy a Michael Jackson doll?

As a former child myself, I think that kids have much more influence over what toys they receive than their parents. Kids are very picky these days and if they want a black Barbie or a black G.I. Joe doll or even a Spiderman with his black costume, then that’s what they usually get. Otherwise they throw a hissy fit and lock themselves in the bathroom and keep flushing the toilet until they get what they want. (Oh, like you didn’t do that too.) And for the record, I would say that kids today are far more colorblind with regard to their toys than their parents ever were.

As an example of this, black rapper dolls outsell white rapper dolls one million to one. Yeah, the K-Fed rapper doll sold a total of 12 units. And they were all bought by K-Fed and given to his 10 family members and friends. The other two were given to his fans…Vanilla Ice and Gerardo. Similarly the action figures of black athletes sell equally well or better than their white counterparts in every sport with the possible exception of hockey and NASCAR.

Seriously, I have to laugh at these weirdos and their race-mongering rants appealing to our collective white guilt like they were Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson. The whole idea of lowering the price of a particular doll being a veiled attempt to demean black people is ludicrous. While there’s no doubt that all dolls are manufactured equal, there’s no question that people who give a rat’s ass what skin color a child’s doll has are just born stupid.


  1. "As a former child myself.." (Brilliant, you crease me!) And very well and succinctley put - this is barking, raving mad PC, and it serves little purpose other than to further stir up any existing resentements on either side of the racial divide..

  2. You are so right. They are soooo reaching on this one! Kids could give a darn about color--unless their parents have brainwashed them!

  3. You are hilarious! But you did forget one important factor impacting the lack of sales of the black Barbies... Tiger Woods.

    Yes, that's when the dip in sales happened.

  4. My only real question is why did they need to move the inventory? It is not like they were perishable items. So what if they did not sell ahead of the others? Just wondering?

  5. I'm just gonna buy a GI Joe and let him fuck all da bitches.

    I don't remember who, what, where or when, but I do remember a news item where a man was holding a meeting about the efficiency of the office procedures or something and he said that things were disappearing into a black hole and a back man on the staff raised hell and demanded an apology for the racist remark. I would have told him to get fucked in his own black hole. But that’s just me.

    But just how ridiculous can people get just to get their name in the paper or something?

  6. I am rolling... you are too funny!!! And that is crazy ridiculous for a fact!!!

    Have a great week-end! ;-)

    p.s. - why former child? am i not supposed to be playing with barbies and crash derbie'n my hot wheels anymore? heehee

  7. Ha. Good post.

    People are impressively stupid.

    But, just in case, kill whitey!

  8. As someone who thinks all Barbie's are a bad idea, regardless of their skin color, I think if Wal-Mart really wanted to take some sort of stand, they would just take them all off their shelves. Barbie really screwed me up and no child should have to go through that!

  9. I read this like 4 days ago and have spent REDICULOUS time trying to find a link to these rip off barbies I bought for a friend's kids over Christmas--they were called, "Mocha Latte' Girls!" Like.....were they mocha....or latte'? Is it politically correct to call latinos latte'? Are the "techically" mulatto (btw, the most lovely people in our society) now called Mocha?? Where the hell have I been?!?!

  10. Isn't the marketplace wonderful?
    Interesting post's good to be back in the Land of Lunacy!

  11. Yeah, because Wal Mart cares about anything more than money. Please!


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