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Black Barbie babymom beef

black-barbie-babyControversy rumbles on over new black Barbie’s, with blogs around the world criticising the new dolls for having straight hair. However one aspect has attracted surprisingly little attention: the fact that “young baby sisters” could easily be mistaken for their children

There is no suggestion that Mattel have set out to manufacture babymother Barbies, but with publicity photos showing each of the black dolls holding the hands of little black girls – and no black ‘Ken’ in sight – some real life children might take the dolls to be young single mothers.

The row over the appearance of dolls named Grace, Kara and Trichelle began earlier this month, when the Telegraph reported concerns that the plastic figures were just not black enough. This was reflected on blogs such as Tonic.

Runaway slave game

Runaway slave game

The dolls were created by African American Barbie designer Stacy McBride-Irby and have “fuller lips, a wider nose, more distinctive cheek bones and curlier hair,” according to the world’s biggest toymaker.

Admittedly, toy giant Mattel has not brought out any prams or other paraphernalia to suggest that they were babymoms, but the combination of hip hop-style “bling” such as huge necklaces and earrings, fancy trainers and at least one ghetto blaster, and young black kids on tow sends out very worrying signals.

We look forward to TV advertising campaigns which will hopefully leave children in no doubt that Grace, Kara and Trichelle are not intended to be the mothers of the young black kids.

Barbie is not the only toy to have caused alarm bells to ring recently. An American website is reporting that major supermarket is selling a board game where players are runaway slaves escaping from the Deep South.

The game, called The Underground Railroad: The Escape to Freedom Game, features on the box a silhouette of an escaped slave apparently tip-toeing to safety. Given that escaped slaves were running in fear of their lives, with many killed or maimed during the journey, this looks in bad taste.

The uniquely American nature of the game hopefully means it will never go on sale in Britain, but as the website notes “something about this game just doesn’t sit right with us… are we being too sensitive?” We think not.

By Lester Holloway


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