Tag Archives: toys

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Lifting the Barbie Ban: The Weird Ways We Help Our Kids Navigate Race

By Guest Contributor Theresa Celebran Jones, cross-posted from Hyphen Magazine

A few weeks ago, as I was putting my kids to bed, my older one, in an effort to avoid sleep, said to me, “Mommy, blonde is my favorite color of hair. I wish my hair was blonde.”

Before freaking out, I asked her why, and her reply was simple. “Blonde is the prettiest.”

I took a moment to gather myself. This was not a discussion I could have with her right before bedtime. I said to her, “I don’t really agree with that, but we can talk about it in the morning.”
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Remembering My Brown-Skinned Dolls

by Guest Contributor Daily Chicana, originally published at The Daily Chicana

Last night, I finished reading Junot Diaz’s The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend. The title character is an obese Dominican “ghetto nerd” obsessed with the “more speculative genres,” such as sci-fi, fantasy, and apocalyptic narratives. One element of the novel that I find I’m reflecting most on is Diaz’s suggestion that the history of rape, genocide, dictatorships and abuse of power that make up the central historical narrative of the Americas–with the island of Hispaniola, today’s Haiti and Dominican Republic, as ground zero of the creation of the New World–are just as fantastical as any speculative novel. In other words, Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, and the like have nothing on the true, gut-wrenching tales that emerge from Caribbean history and its resulting diaspora.

One quote in particular stood out to me: Oscar wonders aloud,

If we were orcs, wouldn’t we, at a racial level, imagine ourselves to look like elves? (178)

I love the moments like this where Oscar connects his beloved fantastical creatures to his everyday experience of race. I’m not actually into Lord of the Rings, btw; I never read Tolkien and only understand what Oscar’s talking about because my ex-husband forced me to see all three LOTR movies with him. So in case you don’t know an orc from an elf, Oscar is comparing the orcs, despised and hovering at the lower end of the hierarchy:

to the elite, golden elves, so genteel and immortal:

The question he poses is a sci-fi version of Toni Morrison’s Bluest Eye. It’s about the extreme impact, over time, that racial self-hatred has on one’s self-esteem and psyche. What happens to us when we never see positive representations of ourselves? Continue reading

For Your Women’s History Month: Black Moses Barbie Is Back!

By Sexual Correspondent Andrea (AJ) Plaid

This is the second installation of Pierre Bennu’s Black Moses Barbie series.  In this ep: Black Moses Barbie has to use her Motivational Freedom Rifle…but not on whom you’d think.

Black Moses Barbie commercial #2 of 3 from pierre bennu on Vimeo.

Transcript after the jump.

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The origin of ‘Asian Ken’ – Revealed?

By Arturo R. García

Still wondering where Mattel might have gotten the idea for its’ new Asian Ken Doll? You’re not alone. A number of blogs have tried to place the inspiration for this questionable choice for the first Asian Ken doll. As Dolls Of Color put it:

But is this really the best image for the FIRST ASIAN KEN? – Ken who is totally American and CONTEMPORARY… and by American, I mean a person from the USA but NOT neccessarily of European** ancestry? Now, last time I was in America… I did not see even ONE person who dressed even vaguely like this Ken doll… oh wait he’s supposed to be “Japanese”… well last time my partner went to Japan, he didn’t find anyone who wore anything like this either…

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Homies.tv: racial stereotypes all around

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

Racialicious reader Krys tipped me off to this web site, which includes some videos that bring the Homies dolls to life in the crudest racial stereotypes you can think of.

What is up with these dolls? According to Wikipedia, “Homies are a series of 2-inch figurines loosely based upon Chicano (Mexican American) characters in the life of artist David Gonzales. First created in 1998, these plastic figurines were initially sold via vending machines typically positioned in supermarkets, but quickly became collectibles among young children through teenagers.”

Are these actually popular with kids? Anyone have any insight?

The minstrel show comes to your toy store

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

Buffoonery alert! This is one toy I won’t be buying for anyone. Check out this video about a new line of dolls called Frogz:

I found the company’s web site and the sales copy is even more barf-enducing:

Frogz Hip Hop – Ride Wit Me
These S’up, Playaz?! Check out who’s in the hizzy!! This FROG has got the clothes, the moves, and the style to buss a move on ya! Press the button, and watch ‘em dance to the funky beat.

Hat tip to AllHipHop.com.

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