Nathan R. Jessup

Shocker: ‘Black’ Barbie Is Oppressed

In America, funny, Obama, Socialism on March 12, 2010 at 5:16 pm

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(By Joanne Galloway)

This video from Zonation quite succinctly explains EXACTLY why we see backlash like “Black Barbie is less than White Barbie” in today’s PC society.

I found this article on ABC news last week, and just had to shake my head.

Black Barbie selling for less than White Barbie.  It’s a polarizing subject that I am sure the likes of Reverend Jackson could pontificate about for hours.  In kind, most American’s could easily step in with valid opinions for varying reasons.

In the article, the experts consulted all suggested that smart retail business was tantamount to the devaluation of black girls.  I think it’s a stretch personally, but I believe the opinions contained within the article outline the core of the real problem – that our aim is off.  Blaming WalMart, or the dolls features for social “injustice” is just a reopening of old wounds – outlining separation of black and whites – ad nauseum.

For example:

Lisa Wade, an assistant sociology professor at Occidental College in Los Angeles had this to say, “Walmart could have decided “that it’s really important that we as a company don’t send a message that we value blackness less than whiteness,”.  She went on to say,  “Walmart could have chosen to keep the dolls at equal prices in an effort not to “reproduce whatever ugly inequalities are out there.”

Reproducing ugly inequalities indeed – that’s the core of it.  That’s where our sites should be aimed – at stopping this “reproduction” at all costs.

Other key points of view from the Barbie Color controversy noted:

“Black children develop perceptions about their race very early. They are not oblivious to this. There’s still that residue. There’s still the problem, the overcoming years, decades of racial and economic subordination,” Harvard University professor William Julius Wilson


“The implication of the lowering of the price is that’s devaluing the black doll,” said Thelma Dye, the executive director of the Northside Center for Child Development.

Walmart’s position was back to those nutty capitalistic retailer ideas:

“Pricing like items differently is a part of inventory management in retailing,” WalMart spokesperson Melissa O’Brien said.

Ok, maybe they all have a point, and maybe you agree or don’t.  But the pink elephant in the room went without mention, once again.

Residue. Reproduction of ugly inequalities. I don’t believe the actions of a retailer selling black dolls at “sale” prices is harming the socioeconomic fiber of black children in the US – I submit that it’s rather black leaders, schools, and government that do this.

Black leaders spew diatribes at the black community, telling them how they have been and  are being oppressed, and being treated unfairly in all social and economic situations.  The black community are constantly reminded of their unfortunate history in the US, and not of any strides and outright changes made since the early 60’s.  Why are black people always portrayed by their own leaders as an exclusionary group, and not what they are – American citizens – PART OF the whole, not just “apart” from the whole?

Educators use black history month to drive this exclusionary mantra home. I am certainly not saying that history of the Civil Rights movement is not important – I am merely suggesting that we start calling it American History and to stop constantly pointing out the differences – constantly indoctrinating our youth that black people are different – so different that black history be separate from the rest of America’s history.  Martin Luther King wanted black and whites sitting together – it wasn’t Mr. King’s idea to constantly have a separateness – his was a message of unification.

Indeed our US Government, as a never-ending apologetic reparations program has instituted programs further carving out a separateness of race, and not a kinship of mankind, such as  Affirmative Action.  Now before you go crazy – I understand why and how programs such as these, began– but what are they telling us now?  It is like we as a nation are saying to the black youths of America that they aren’t able to qualify among the regular workforce, so we’ll give you a leg up.  What’s the message here?  Blacks aren’t as smart as other races?  That blacks can’t compete unless the bets are hedged, that they can’t compete unless the deck’s been stacked in their favor?  That giving black people a head start is the only way they can be equal with other nationalities?  Even the PC term African-American is once again carving out a separateness of station.  As if they must be hyphenated, or qualified in some way – just to make especially careful we redefine the differences over and over.  Why not just be American?

If there is any message in the “Baribies” – it’s that it’s time to “sight in” our focus so that we’re aiming at the real problem here, and not continuing on the blame of our misguided past.  We don’t need Black History month – we need a refocus on how black people are part of America’s history.  Togetherness not separatist.   We don’t need a separate section in the bookstore for black writers, or black literature – isn’t this exactly the OPPOSITE of what Dr. King wanted?  Isn’t that just more segregation?  Why not count the black authors among the white – standing side by side, and shoulder to shoulder – and not given preferential treatment, or segregated treatment, but a togetherness.  A kinship.  A sense of oneness.

We need to stop outlining our differences and concentrate on what makes us the same – let’s let Barbie be Barbie, and retailers make sense of business – and leave the residue out of it.

  1. I like you! Well stated. What is, “IS!” Yet within our Universe of Love and Fear, I trust there is a unifying energy which has not appeared “yet,” to take the pain and bigotry away by redirecting how we “think” in the first place. I love Einstein’s quote: “We cannot solve our problems by using the same type of thinking we used when we created them.”

    To do that may require building a geodesic dome over the Washington Beltway, thus emcompassing (incarcerating them) and all elements of the Tyrannical Machine. For a period of 21 days (The length of time to change a “habit”)and no connection to the outside world, treat them as contemptuous children, by placing them in “TIME OUT!” It gives new meaning to the word TRANSFORMATION!! Some homework, a little time for reading and reflection, along with “Little House on the Prairie” piped in via cable 24/7 is a good beginning step according to God’s laws…not man’s laws.

    We as citizens are just now waking up to the idea of HOLDING these ego-oriented elitists accountable. There’s more to come……….. Keep writng the good stuff!! DrAhha

  2. Hey guys. We had a ball with this over at ItsAboutFreedom. Thanks

  3. BigAlSouth,

    I am glad you enjoyed the article. Thanks for stopping by The Raw Deal, we look forward to hearing more from you. (FYI-I registered on “itsaboutfreedom”)


  4. YOu seem to miss the point that African American people are a distinct people — with a unique history, a distinctive culture and a historically constituted community. The U.S. is a multinational country, with several peoples inhabiting it. Among them more than a hundred distinct native peoples, the colonized people of Puerto Rico, African Americans, and the immigrants from Europe who have been forged into the nationality known as “white people.” People may be legally “American citizens” (i.e. have a common legal status as citizens), but that doesn’t make them the same nationality. (And that status of “citizen” was even imposed on Native people, often over their opposition, in the early twentieth century.)

    So your whole thesis is wrong: i.e. that both oppression and nationality are an invention.

  5. Actually Mike E, you miss the point of the entire piece. It’s just this kind of “separatism” that breeds the race war. Imagine if you will “white history month” (yes, white can be of many decsents, but let’s keep it simple for this argument) – White Miss America, the White’s only author section in Barnes and Noble, White Essense Awards, NAAWP – I could go on – not only is it offensive, but it’s exclusionary. The point of America, is that DESPITE our heritage and cultural differences, we stand united in our beliefs in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Flag, and our system of freedom and government. Instead of outlining how we are all different, we unite on one common goal of good.

    United we stand, divided we fall. And it’s the PC police and the constant indoctrination of multiculturalism that is dividing the US today.

    Don’t mistake me for saying that your heritage isn’t something to be proud of, but it’s not something that should require a “special segregated section” – whether that be legistlative, or just the drinking fountain at the mall.

  6. No, i don’t mistake it at all. All of history taught in the u.s. has been mainly the “white history” (and if you look at the Texas school board you see the degree to which that is still true). But it was taught as “American history.”

    The fact is there are distinct peoples here. And there needs to be a fierce struggle for equality — Black people don’t want to be “like you” they want to remain Black. But they want to be equal — including having their culture treated as equal. This distinctness is objective. Many peoples in the U.S. don’t want to be “like you” — they want their distinctness (native peoples, for example, or many Latinos) even while finally having the basic equality of advancement, legal status, recognition etc.

    The whole talk of “color blind society” is a gimmick to say “let’s not look to close at the existing inequality, let’s just pretend it is gone.”

    The main measure of equality is not nominal equality under the law, but actual equality of outcomes. Look in the schools, the prisons, the unemployment lines — and you can see (without much work) the intense and intolerable inequality that still exists.

  7. And in fact we need Black History Month to explore and popularize all that has been literally suppressed and denied in the (routine, constant, enveloping) censorship of truth that is called “American History.” I have written on Black History for years, and posted it extensively in February… and there is so much more to bring to the surface that is largely unknown (and worse, denied).

    Black people are not just “part of America” — they came here in chains, were worked in forced labor camps for centuries, had their humanity denied, were treated like inferior “perps,” have been lynched and shot down by police… So they have a DISTINCTIVE history, a separate and distinct experience, not just some side show blended into some larger “American” record. There has never been a “melting pot” for African-descended people.

    And this country can’t both deny a people equality, and then try to deny it distinctness — can you see the injustice and impossibility of that?

  8. Just a final point:

    You write:

    “The point of America, is that DESPITE our heritage and cultural differences, we stand united in our beliefs in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Flag, and our system of freedom and government. Instead of outlining how we are all different, we unite on one common goal of good.”

    But you mistake the point: Many people (me included) don’t uphold the Flag or the framework of capitalism (enshrined in the constitution). This does not unite us — we oppose it.

    Your assumption that we all agree, or that these things are all common to us, is mistaken (and a bit confused). Where do you live that you think these things can be assumed?

    And it is not just the left that is not on that page:

    If you took the bill of rights as a petition, i suspect a majority of conservatives would see it as a bleeding heart softness and refuse to sign. The constitution does not establish a single language, but the right has been trying to rewrite that constitution a dozen ways (national language imposed, abortion bans imposed, ending separation of church and state, imposing a national religion etc. etc.) No one has as radical distaste for the Constitution (as it exists) as the right — and they are in constant revolt against many basic tenets.

    So we are not united by these ideas or principles at all. In fact, there is a showdown coming — as those old frameworks fall away, and the question becomes what to adopt in their place.

  9. I do not argue that everyone in the US MUST see eye to eye on every culture, race, creed, religion, etc. What I am saying, is that by further entrenching ourselves in our separateness, we futher divide the nation. We all live under the umbrella of freedom provided to us by the founding fathers of this nation. We live under said umbrella not in harmony of thought, but in the knowledge and understanding that we have the opportunity to do whatever we want to do, without fear of imprisonment or goverment force, like so many other nations in this world. Our likeness is only that we have freedom – as much freedom as a society on earth can provide.

    There is no perfect Utopia to make everyone happy – but this is still the best place on the planet to live – the framework of our government was designed to give you as much freedom as is possible to live your life as YOU see fit.

    Mike, the ideas that you suggest are not plausible in reality. The smallest possible government intervention in your life is the only way to live as freely as possible amongst those who do not see things your way (or mine).

    Your thinking serves only to constantly remind society that our ancestors may have been unfortunate recipients of hate or harm — former bad acts of our fathers is just ripping the scars off barely healed wounds, and bleeds our society of the very freedoms that nourish it.

    You and I get to think what we think without fear of retribution BECAUSE we live in the US. And that is the best possible system it can be. Government intervention just stifles our freedoms.

    No government can legislate common sense, nor engineer social fairness. Those who try make freedom our most endangered right.

  10. Reply to Jazz:

    We have quite a different assessment of this country and world.

    “We all live under the umbrella of freedom provided to us by the founding fathers of this nation.”

    Do we? This country has the highest imprisonment per capita in the world. Have you ever been on an Indian reservation? Have you ever been beaten on a picket line or protest?

    As for the “founding fathers” — they enshrined slavery, and were in many cases themselves slave owners or slave traders. Benjamin Franklin helped finance excursions for removing Native people from Pennsylvania land. What “freedom” did that represent? Who was their ‘umbrella”for (then or now)?

    “The smallest possible government intervention in your life is the only way to live as freely as possible amongst those who do not see things your way (or mine).”

    This is a naive dogma of rightwing utopia. And I always notice that the conservatives who want “small government” always want big prison systems and a big military. How can you talk about “the smallest possible government intervention” while you appear in the military uniform of the biggest invasion force in history?

    What government has “intervened” more in human affairs (in brutal and oppressive ways — including nuclear explosions) than the U.S. military?

    Ask the people of Hiroshima if the U.S. government only intervenes in small ways.

    “You and I get to think what we think without fear of retribution BECAUSE we live in the US. And that is the best possible system it can be.”

    I don’t know what planet you live in. I have lived in half a dozen countries. There is nothing special or particularly free about the U.S. — and it is now on the cutting edge of government surveillance and pursuit in ways most countries would not dream of.

    Again: If you think the U.S. is freer than any other country, you should get out more.

  11. Oh, Mike.

    The rhetoric you spew skews the facts more than a little, and smacks of university talking points regarding the evil, rich, white man that founded this country on the backs of the superior, yet imprisoned black man.

    I suggest some actual factual reading on the care many of the founding fathers had for their slaves – paying them for their services and treating them like employees rather than slaves. It was a different time, and freed slaves had no prospects, no jobs or homes to go to if “freed” – and many were re-arrested and subject to worse than they saw at the hands of their former masters. Jefferson himself knew this to be true, and made sure they had proper living quarters, eduation, that they were given new clothes, paid wages, and inspired competition among them. Oh, but Mike I am sure you are going to tell me how wrong I am again.

    While I haven’t served in the military myself, I have loved ones who do/have. We have been a champion of freedom and protector of freedom fighters – as well as protecting ourselves. Without our military we would have been destroyed long ago. Don’t forget Mike – The Japanese engaged us in a war our president sought only to avoid for years as it destroyed Europe. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were necessary in a time of war with an enemy who was killing our people, and who vowed never to stop. Indeed – a people who used Kamikaze warfare – that’s how much they thought of their own citizens (a practice, I might add that is largely popular with our Muslim neighbors on this earth). Nothing like just “reasoning” with someone who is willing to strap a bomb to their 7 year old for the sake of Jihad! Oh sure. Let’s just shake on it. I’m sure that’ll work.

    The imprisonment in the US is an unfortunate necessity now isn’t it? Do you have children, Mike? I do. Two young daughters. I would like them to remain safe from the rapists, molesters, murderers , theives – where would you have them go? What is your brilliant idea for those people? OH sure. I am sure it’s all been a conspiratorial plot on the part of the rich white man to falsly enslave and imprison minorities (cause gosh knows there are no white people in jail).

    I do not like all the big brother intrusion in this country. I never will – from aiport full body scans to the Patriot Act – I oppose them all.

    Finally, Mike, if those other countries were so good, what are you doing here? You’re not being held here by machine gun, pain of death, indentured slavery, or to my immediate knowledge, imprisonment. You may take your leave if you hate it so badly.

  12. Well, that kinda proves my point:

    A) You think that slave owners were for freedom, and slavery wasn’t that bad. (How does this jibe with all your talk of individual choice — since slavery should be anathema? It shows that the talk of freedom is for some, and others don’t count).

    B) You talk of small government and no government intrusion — but you like a big military and prisons. In other words, you want no “intrusion” in YOUR life — but don’t mind two million people in prison and a whole world threatened by U.S. missiles and bombs.

    In fact you talk of freedom and small government — and uphold slavery and government killers. The contradictions are your own, and they are glaring.

    The essense of conservative thought is not “freedom” it is “up with me, down with everyone else.” It is the self writ large. And the only “freedom” you care about is your own — there is nothing universal or humane about it.

  13. “The imprisonment in the US is an unfortunate necessity now isn’t it? Do you have children, Mike? I do. Two young daughters. I would like them to remain safe from the rapists, molesters, murderers , theives – where would you have them go? What is your brilliant idea for those people? OH sure. I am sure it’s all been a conspiratorial plot on the part of the rich white man to falsly enslave and imprison minorities (cause gosh knows there are no white people in jail).”

    The facts are revealing:

    First the number of imprisoned has increased radically. There were one million in prison when Clinton became president, there were two million when he left. That captures the steep curve of recent years.

    Second, there are white people in prison — lots of them. But the ratios are radically skewed. Black people are imprisoned far out of proportion to their percent of the population. There are more black men in prison than in college. There is major documentation that punishment for young black men is far harsher for the same crimes, etc. (Recently there was a study of how disproportionately young black men were suspended from high school — for offenses that white kids were not suspended for.)

    Third, many of the crimes people are imprisoned for are economic, not violent. No one argues that rapists should not be neutralized and imprisoned. But huge portions of the prison population are there for selling drugs (from communities where few job opportunities exist)… these are crimes of poverty not violence.

    Fourth, there is lots of evidence that kids become hardened criminals IN prison. So locking up lots of kids under these horrific conditions of prisoner rape and abuse doesn’t keep your daughters safe — it endangers them.

    You mock any mention of discrimination, and you imply that i am alluding to silly mythologies, conspiratorial plots and absurdities. Don’t put words in my mouth. It degrades your argument, not mine.

    But the truth is that this country was rooted in slavery and genocide. Its freedoms were for white men with property. And in many basic ways that legacy is living and intense.

    Conservatives dismiss history — saying leave slavery in the past. But it is not past outrages that preoccupy us — it is the current outrages OF TODAY that bear the marks of that past in indelible ways.

    The whole thing is a blindness brought on by selfish-preoccupation. You approach everything from the narrowest prism of self (or of family, which is merely treated as an extension of self). You have no empathy for others. No regard for actual truth.

    Deep pain and suffering are mocked and dismissed. Crimes are excused. A century of force labor is prettified.

    Any injustice that exists is ignored — unless it can possibly affect yourself.

    I have never understood the heartless and bitter selfishness of the Right. Think of a movement that thinks “bleeding heart” is a put-down. Shouldn’t our hearts bleed for each other, for distant people? For the suffering of those unlike ourselves?

    If you kill people, or nuke them from the skies, or send drones over distant lands — all that is justified to you. And if someone attacks you back, you consider that demonic and evil.

    Do you think that fools or convinces anyone?

  14. My argument all along has been to treat everyone in the country as equals – as Americans – instead of forcing minorities into a “special category” as if to say that without a leg up, they are inherently built as inferiors.

    I don’t believe in separatism of races, but rather a coming together of people as AMERICANS, not WHITE American, African, German, Irish, Native – what have you – just Americans.

    It was you who began to delve into the bowels of multiculturalist rhetoric.

    It is people like you that seem hell bent on one end – death to the capitalist, American way of life – and time to punish the “white man” for sins past and present.

    I believe in self accountability and responsibility as well. I wasn’t born rich (still not rich)- I lived in a house without a stove, without heat for a time, clothes second hand, third hand even – the fact is I still do without more than I care to admit – I worked two jobs and earned my way back. I didn’t get a lot handed to me – but that doesn’t mean I dealt drugs claiming that was the only way I could make a living. My mother grew up in a ghetto on the eastern side of Pittsburgh, my grandparents were impoverished and alcoholics, and abusive to both my parents at times. My mother was molested as a child. And yet I STILL DIDN’T end up dealing drugs because of a LACK of oppotunities.

    I believe that people need to pick themselves up instead of demanding that a government provide it for me – and here in this country of FREEDOM – I am able to do that. Some have it much better, some much worse, but the opportunity is there to change that.

    As for people in other countries – the US is the largest supplier of foreign aid on the planet. Anytime there is a disaster, we are there – there is no nation on earth that has the compassion of the American people as a whole.

    We are not a perfect nation but we’re the best around.

    Something else you said about imprisonment. Are you aware of some of the types of imprisonment that went on under Sadaam Hussein? Imagine yourself in a near coffin sized cave – where you were housed without latrine, proper food, exercise or light? Concentration Camps, Russian Golags that exterminated millions of people for reasons as simple as their religion, or political affiliations. And you mention the US Prison system and all our imprioned inmates with gym’s, TVs, earned wages, etc? You cannot even make the comparison, and it’s ridiculous and insulting that you try. We do not SAW people’s head off while they are alive, and we do not blow our children to bits for Jihad.

    Your argument is the typical argument of the left, bleeding hearts? For all but America, your loathing oozes out in every word your write.

    But there is this one fact – you have the absolute right to your opinion. You have the absolute right to live as your wish, and travel where you will, and to protest what you will. Becuase here – you are free. Try to rail against the government in North Korea, Iran, Russia, China. You can’t.

    Yes, I still believe with all my heart and soul, this is the best most free place, most fair place to live on earth – and I love my country.

  15. Mike-
    I read your comments. Not once did I hear mention of the persecuted Scots. You see, I am Scottish and my people were tremendously persecuted by the Brits. Have you read and written all about my people as well? Horrifying things were done to the Scots (the least of which was being shackled). You are not looking for equality, you are demanding entitlement-I am however impressed that you that you actually argue America oppresses blacks while the President is exactly that-black (or at least I am told he is). Either way, I don’t care. Never thought once about his color, or anyone one else for that matter. I dislike him for his radical principles and ideologies, not his appearance. The truth is the left perpetuates the problem by constantly trying to “ease” the supposed pain and suffering of these poor people who are 3 or 4 generations removed from slavery. There is prejudice towards every single man, woman, child, race, color, height, weight, hairstyle, income level etc. You want to rid the world of that, or just draw attention to it by putting it under a microscope? Just not clear on what you want (not quite sure you are either).

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