Entertainment

A Racist Doll That Encouraged Violence Against Black Children Is Getting Shared On Twitter

Some people just don’t learn, do they?

U.S. history is one loaded sheet of receipts of proof that, when it comes to racism, we have been there, done that, and have had it up here with it. And yet, commercial business, establishments that rely on customer approval, still don’t seem to get it. And at the very least, they aren’t making an effort to regularly brush up on what can trigger their customer base and cause backlash. Yes, in 2019, consumers continue to face questionable advertisements and products that most 5th graders would be able to identify as racist off the bat. From Blackface shoes to racist jerseys brands are proving just how much they aren’t listening to minority consumers when we say “Ouch that hurts.”

This goes doubly true for a New Jersey dollar store that never once questioned a black “Feel Better Doll” that people could “whack” “whenever things don’t go well” and put it on its shelves.

Black rag dolls that were designed to be abused as stress relievers have been pulled from shelves of a N.J. One Dollar Store after complaints of racism from politicians and customers began to build.

The dolls, which were made of black fabric and red, green, black and yellow colored yarn for hair made up in the style of dreadlocks, were found in New Jersey One Dollar Zone store. The dolls called “Feel Better Doll” had a message to consumers sewn on their stomach that said “Whenever things don’t go well and you want to hit the wall and yell, here’s a little ‘feel better doll’ that you just will not do without. Just grab it firmly by the legs and find a wall to slam the doll, and as you whack the ‘feel good doll’ do not forget to yell I FEEL GOOD, I FEEL GOOD.”

Based on the label, the doll appears to be manufactured by HarveyHutterCoInc.com.

Black dolls in the U.S. have a prominent and ugly role in our history as gross caricatures.

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American consumer history is rife with Black caricature dolls. While today’s Black dolls primarily reflect the fashionable, beautiful and success-driven African-American women of today, black dolls of the past often represented dehumanizing racial stereotypes and anti-Black caricatures that included the Mammy and the Pickaninny.

These dolls were often dressed in ragged clothes had made to be “kinky” hair and often had overly dramatized physical features.

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One 1900s postcard features a doll with similar sentiments of the “Feel Better Doll”.

The postcard titled,  “I Certainly Do Miss the Children,” features a white man as he throws baseballs at black dolls in a carnival game called, “Hit the Nigger Babies.” The message of the card showcases historical sentiment that Black people were merely objects present for the abuse and amusement of white people, that Black children were not human.

Unpacking the various problems with this doll is pretty simple.

MBella Basque/ Pinterest.com

First, we can only count the ways in which encouraging adults, let alone children, that using violent behavior on a figure that represents a child as a stress reliever is a dangerous idea of gargantuan proportions. Besides being tools that can comfort and entertain a child, dolls offer children a way to understand how to care for and love other objects and people. The National Black Doll Museum and History Of Culture describes dolls as “a child’s first introduction to self- image” and says that “the history of black dolls is about more than just objects of play. Black dolls have played a critical role in building a diverse American society and rich African American culture.” For Black children whose cultural This doll presents a perverse alternative that undoubtedly encourages the behavior to the contrary.

There’s also the fact that the doll is an inappropriate and stereotypically crafted representation of a Black girl. Considering that Black girls and women are consistently abused and mistreated by others at disproportionate rates than other women and men of different races poses another issue. This doll undoubtedly perpetuates this problem as it tells young children that abusing dolls that look like black girls is acceptable. That their negative emotions can be cured by mistreating children and black dolls (aka black girls) specifically.

Angela Knight, a New Jersey state assemblywoman, shared a statement to her Facebook page about the doll that expressed similar concerns.

Assemblywoman Angela V. McKnight said that after seeing images of the doll appear on her social media, she went toa One Dollar Zone in Bayonne, N.J. to see the dolls for herself. She soon after posted photos of the doll on her Facebook page along with a statement that condemned the dolls and the abuse they encouraged.

“Racism has no place in the world and I will not tolerate it, especially not in this district,” she wrote in the statement.”When I saw the doll in person, I cringed and was truly disheartened by the thought of a black child being beaten by another child or an adult for pure pleasure.”

We reached out to the manufacturer for comment but received no response as of this article’s publication.

Conservatives Are Furious That AOC Called Out Rush Limbaugh’s Racist Past

Things That Matter

Conservatives Are Furious That AOC Called Out Rush Limbaugh’s Racist Past

aoc / Instagram / Rush Limbaugh / Facebook

During the State of the Union address, President Donald Trump broke protocol and norms by awarding a “surprise” Presidential Medal of Freedom. Former winners of the award are Ellen DeGeneres, Rosa Parks, Toni Morrison, Isabella Allende, and Gloria and Emilio Estefan. The newest recipient is conservative and extreme radio host Rush Limbaugh.

Rush Limbaugh is the latest recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Credit: @Acosta / Twitter

Rush Limbaugh is a Conservative radio host who is known to use racist, sexist, and xenophobic language during his shows. He has used his platform to slut-shame women fighting for affordable access to birth control and once referred to a 12-year-old Chelsea Clinton to a dog. During one show, Limbaugh sang a song to perform a racist rant against then-President Barack Obama.

His racist, sexist, and xenophobic rantings are all documented because of his radio show.

“The Rush Limbaugh Show” has been nationally syndicated since 1988 and boasts 25 million listeners monthly. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest honor that can be bestowed on a civilian. Mother Teresa and Rosa Parks are among the honorees of the award.

A lot of people don’t agree that Limbaugh deserves the honor.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is supposed to be reserved for civilians who have made major contributions to society. The contributions can be through the arts, philanthropy, science, etc. Many are wondering what Limbaugh has done to further society in a positive way. In a clip from “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah,” Limbaugh is seen making fun of Michael J. Fox’s Parkinson’s disease.

Conservatives and Limbaugh fans are most upset with Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s take on the medal.

It was recently revealed to the public that Limbaugh was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. Many of the AOC critics have held tight to this fact when attacked the Congresswoman.

Some have gone strong against the New York Congresswoman.

Credit: @marklevinshow / Twitter

Conservatives on Twitter are up in arms about AOC calling out a man’s racist, sexist, and xenophobic past. They aren’t mad that the man said and did those things, just that a Latina Congresswoman reminded people of those comments. Think about that.

READ: AOC Said In Any Other Country She And Joe Biden Would Not Even Be In The Same Party

She Was Cropped Out Of A Photo Featuring Her White Peers, Now This African Climate Change Activist Is Speaking Out

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She Was Cropped Out Of A Photo Featuring Her White Peers, Now This African Climate Change Activist Is Speaking Out

Markus Shreiber / Associated Press

Racism and white privilege are front and center in the climate change battle thanks to a viral photo of five climate change activists that was cropped to remove the only woman of color. The ‘terrible mistake’ has sparked an outcry among the public and prompted soul-searching at the Associated Press – the organization responsible for erasing the only Black woman in the photo.

The incident highlights the erasure of people of color from activist circles and the silencing of their voices to elevate those of their white peers.

In a photo of five climate activists, the only Black activist was cropped out before publishing.

It all happened at the World Economic Forum in Davis, Switzerland, where the young climate activists were in attendance. A photographer with the Associated Press took a picture of the five activists, including the well-known climate superstar Greta Thunberg and Ugandan Vanessa Nakate. THe photographer cropped it Nakate and sent a photo of the four whit women with a scenic mountain backdrop to editors around the world.

The AP’s initial response to the criticism was that it was done to enable a close-up of Thunberg and to remove a possible distraction in the photo – a building behind Nakate.

Vanessa Nakate told BuzzFeed News she was heartbroken to see websites use a photo featuring four white activists but not her.

In a Twitter DM conversation with Buzzfeed News, Nakate said she was heartbroken when she realized what had been done. She went on to say “I cried because it was so sad not just that it was racist, I was sad because of the people from Africa. It showed how we are valued. It hurt me a lot. It is the worst thing I have ever seen in my life.”

The young climate activist also took to Twitter to share her reaction in an emotional 10-minute-long video discussing her experience at the summit and how it felt being cropped from the photo. She says “it was the first time in my life that I understood the definition of the word ‘racism.'” She said she felt like her story had been erased.

“I don’t feel OK right now,” she said in the video posted on Twitter. “The world is so cruel.”

Thunberg supported her on social media, saying over the weekend that the picture was “totally unacceptable in so many ways. Like Vanessa said herself: ‘You didn’t just erase a photo. You erased a continent.’”

She’s also had to face backlash from people saying if she didn’t want to be cropped out, she should of stood in the middle of the group. Like what the…?

For real. People on Twitter were trying to tell this young African activist that she should of positioned herself in the middle of the photo if she didn’t want to be cropped out. What is wrong with people? How are you going to tell a person of color to be mindful of where they stand simply out of fear of being cropped? That’s not how it should work.

The AP originally said it was done to allow a close-up shot of Greta Thunberg but has since apologized for the incident.

The initial responde from the AP was definitely tone deaf, saying that it was done with the intention to remove a distraction in the photo’s background. Even if that were true, in doing so, you’re literally erasing the only person of color (and her experience) from the photo, the summit, and the cause. That’s not OK.

Recognizing the error in their response, the AP changed course by the weekend.

“My hope is that we can learn from this and be a better news organization going forward,” Sally Buzbee, the news service’s executive editor and senior vice president, said Monday. “I realize I need to make clear from the very top, from me, that diversity and inclusion needs to be one of our highest priorities.”

“This is a very important issue for the AP, and it’s bigger than a bad mistake on one photo,” said Gary Pruitt, president and CEO of the AP, who attended the first meeting. “Our values are to cover the world — not the white world, but the whole world. And we need to do it.”

Being erased from a major moment has led Nakate to lead a mission to fight for more inclusivity in the environmental justice movement.

Speaking up catapulted Nakate into an unfamiliar territory of social activism: calling out anti-black discrimination and racism. After experiencing “the definition of the word” for the first time in her life, she received messages of support. She said she now felt a greater responsibility to “amplify their voices”.

Nakate, an activist since 2018, was inspired by Thunberg to start her own climate movement in Uganda and began a solitary strike against inaction on the climate crisis in January 2019.

She’s made it a point to highlight the climate change issues that affect minority and vulnerable populations around the world. She hopes to remind people, that climate change is affecting the world’s most vulnerable populations already. That for many communities around the world, especially in her native Uganda, there is no time to wait for action.