AC W10 stereotypes racism in toyland

AC W10 stereotypes racism in toyland - March 18, 2008...

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March 18, 2008 Racism in Toyland By Karen Sternheimer You have probably heard critics of Barbie decry the unrealistic beauty image the toy reflects. I’m guessing you may have already thought about the way that children’s toys promote somewhat rigid gender identities. But have you ever thought about how toys reflect racial inequality? During the holiday shopping season, a friend of mine went to buy a doll for her daughter. She had a coupon for a specific doll from the newspaper circular, and she was excited because she knew that particular doll also came in a black version. Since her daughter is multiracial, she likes her to have dolls of many hues to play with. But when she went to check out, she was told that the coupon was only valid on the white doll. Now there might be marketing reasons that the coupon could only work with the white doll; the UPC code might have been different on the black doll. Maybe they had an abundance of white dolls that the store was looking to move off of the shelves. Since the manufacturer probably produces so many more white versions of the doll and the retailer also probably buys a whole lot more of the white ones, it makes sense from a business perspective that one version would be cheaper to clear inventory. Ultimately, the store manager refused to honor the coupon (which did not say was for white dolls only). But from a sociological standpoint, the price difference is a surcharge for black dolls which could work to deter customers from buying one. According to the U.S. Census, the median household income for African Americans is approximately 61% of white, non-Hispanic households. This income disparity makes it even more of a burden to pay more for essentially the same doll. Since the middle of the last century, toy manufacturers have come a long way. Dora the Explorer is an extremely popular Latina television character (with requisite doll and other toys). Fisher Price's Little People toys also feature children clearly from multiple ethnic groups. American Girl dolls are mostly white, but their Mexican American, Native American and African American dolls aren’t segregated on their homepage, as they are on www.toysrus.com . If you visit this site and click on dolls, they have many categories to choose from, including "ethnic dolls" . Even many of those dolls appear to be white or very light skinned.
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This separate category literally segregates dolls of color…except most of these dolls at best look like white people with deep tans. Of those slightly darker in color, they often have Caucasian- like hair and even blue eyes. There’s another curious thing about the “ethnic” category: it presumes
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This note was uploaded on 03/21/2012 for the course COMM 1000345 taught by Professor Mccloud during the Fall '10 term at Mohawk College.

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AC W10 stereotypes racism in toyland - March 18, 2008...

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