Entertainment

A Racist Doll That Encouraged Violence Against Black Children Is Getting Shared And Grilled 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.

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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.

An Ohio Teacher Used A Racist Meme About Dora The Explorer To Discuss Voter Eligibility

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An Ohio Teacher Used A Racist Meme About Dora The Explorer To Discuss Voter Eligibility

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A West Geauga High School teacher in Ohio is being investigated for using a racist image in class. The teacher showed students a meme of Dora the Explorer portrayed as an undocumented immigrant during an 11th-grade Advanced Placement government class. 

Multiple parents called the school district to express outrage and vented about the incident on social media. Some parents even pointed out that besides being offensive the information the photo was supposed to convey was inaccurate, according to Fox 8

The teacher was put on leave pending an investigation but eventually reinstated by the superintendent. 

An Ohio teacher uses a racist meme about Dora the Explorer to discuss voter eligibility.

The teacher used two photos to demonstrate voter ineligibility. One showed the mugshot of an alt-right man with a felon, the other showed Dora the Explorer with the charges of “illegal border crossing” and “resisting arrest.” One of the upset parents, Stephanie Anderson, expressed that the lesson was inaccurate according to Fox 8. Anderson noted that undocumented citizens would obviously not be allowed to vote so listing their charges would be pointless. However, the offenses that are listed are not felons but misdemeanors. 

“I was outraged,” said Anderson, “Whether this teacher intended it to be a joke, something he found online it’s simply inappropriate and outrageous.”

“Seeing that white supremacist juxtaposed with a brown-skinned child who has a superimposed black eye, blood coming from her mouth with the offense of illegal border crossing and resisting arrest combined with 666 666666 is 100% inappropriate,” she said. “There are so many other more appropriate ways to get your point across.”

The Superintendent released a statement to parents. 

“We are investigating the matter related to the politically-insensitive slides allegedly contained in a teacher’s classroom presentation today. The teacher has been placed on leave pending the results of the investigation,” Superintendent Richard Markwardt, Ph. D wrote in a statement to parents. 

While the teacher was put on leave, Anderson was hopeful that the entire district understood the gravity of the situation. The mother, whose son was in the class, believes the classroom is not a place for a teacher to impose their personal political beliefs. 

“It’s not okay for either extreme,” said Anderson, “So whether you are very liberal or very conservative at either end of the spectrum, imparting your views on your students in a non-educationally beneficial way is unacceptable.”

The Washington Post followed up on the story and found that Markwardt had already finished investigating. He told the paper he recognized the inappropriateness of the imagery but didn’t think the teacher had any ill will and refused to terminate them. 

“I will not use what I regard as a lapse of judgment as the reason to damage the career of a good teacher,” Markwardt said. “That would be following one mistake with another.”

Anderson told the Washington Post that the school district has struggled with addressing diversity and inclusivity, but that she was satisfied with the school’s response. 

“I genuinely believe they’re taking measurable steps to ensure all the students in the district can come to school in an environment that’s free from harassment and discrimination,” Anderson said.

Markwardt said some individual staff members may require diversity training, but the district overall will continue to focus on the matter. 

“I perceive the use of the objectionable image as symptomatic of a general lack of attention to the diversity of individuals in a largely homogeneous school district,” he said.

The Dora meme is a decade old and you can thank Arizona SB 1070 for that. 

According to the BBC, the Dora meme first appeared in 2009 in response to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s SB 1070 Bill, which would propose the strictest immigration laws in the country. The bill that allowed law enforcement to demand documentation from anyone they thought “looked” undocumented and made it illegal to be caught without papers would eventually be struck down by the Supreme Court in 2012. The meme was used to illustrate the effects of the law, which some members of the right championed. 

University of Cincinnati sociology professor Erynn Masi de Casanova told the Washington Post that using a meme in like this in class can legitimize and trivialize the real lives of Latinxs. 

“Because Dora is what I call a ‘generic Latina’ stereotype, a fictional character without any identifiable national origin, people may feel comfortable projecting their ideas about Latinos onto her,” Casanova said.

However, Casanova did point out one silver lining to the disturbing incident. 

“It is heartening to me that students and parents were disturbed by this image that dehumanizes and makes light of immigrants’ struggles,” she said. “It seems they are learning something about empathy in spite of this teacher’s efforts to discourage it.”

After Many Accused Shakira And Jennifer Lopez Of Anti-Blackness, Shakira Defends The Decision To Perform At The Super Bowl

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After Many Accused Shakira And Jennifer Lopez Of Anti-Blackness, Shakira Defends The Decision To Perform At The Super Bowl

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When Shakira and Jennifer Lopez accepted the gig to perform at the Super Bowl Half Time Show in 2020, after many musicians, like Rihanna and Afro-Latinx Cardi B, turned down the offer in support of Colin Kaepernick, they were met with some strong feelings. 

Many believed the iconic singers were aligning themselves with an anti-black institution, a critique that was similarly leveraged against rapper Jay Z who recently partnered with the NFL along with Travis Scott and Maroon 5 who performed at the 2019 show. In 2018 Diversity Inc reported, according to an NFL Insider, “Nobody wants to be associated with it.”

In an interview with the Guardian, the “Hips Don’t Lie” singer spoke about her decision and what it means in Trump’s America for the very first. 

Shakira says performing at the Super Bowl Half Time Show is good for Latinxs.

“Well, you know, I think it’s the right thing to do for the Latino community because we’ve also been through so much in Trump’s America, with walls being built and …” Shakira told the newspaper. “It’s an opportunity to celebrate our culture, you know?”

Many began to wonder: the right thing to do for which Latinxs? After all, some are black. Nevertheless, Shakira has a semblance of a point. Increased visibility, in a time where hate crimes targeting Latinxs have reached a fever pitch, can present an alternative to the narrative of the Trump administration in which Mexicans are “rapists,” that there is a “Hispanic invasion,” and DACA recipients are “criminals.” 

However, betraying one sect of Latinxs and black Americans to benefit another sect may not help promote an anti-racist agenda overall or appease her critics. 

“I’m so honored to be taking on one of the world’s biggest stages in the company of a fellow female artist to represent Latinos and Latinas from the U.S. and all over the world!” Shakira said about performing. “This is a true American dream and we are going to bring the show of a lifetime!”

Some Twitter users accuse Shakira of anti-blackness.

“I am only one person, but as a Black Puerto Rican/Afro-Latina women Jennifer Lopez and Shakira, a Puerto Rican and Columbian in my opinion are engaging in anti-Blackness by performing at the #SuperBowl half time show this year,” Rosa A. Clemente, a lecturer and organizer tweeted. 

Another person tweeted: “Once again, white Latinxes are happy to perpetuate anti-Blackness in exchange for proximity to & acceptance by whiteness in the US,” one user Tweeted. ” (But ya’ll should know that this acceptance isn’t real b/c its  predicated on the oppression of others. A snake’s a snake.)”

While some admitted they were excited to see two Latinas take a major stage together but, nevertheless, were torn on the decision.

“I know I was happy for JLo and Shakira for being latinas performing the Super Bowl but after thinking I’m actually super upset that they said yes and we’re not willing to stand in solidarity w. CK. We (non Afro latinas) need to work harder to stand in solidarity with black folks,” another user Tweeted. 

While another user took their message right to Shakira, saying : “@shakira please don’t play the Superbowl. You don’t need the money. You stood for Palestine. You need to stand in solidarity with the American black community.”

Artists boycott the Super Bowl Half Time Show in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began taking a knee to protest police brutality each time the national anthem played in 2016. Fueled by the right-wing media, Kaepernick’s protest became a national controversy, causing him to be fired from the NFL abruptly. Since then, artists, including Jay Z initially, have protested the sports league. 

“The majority of artists we’ve reached out to are standing in solidarity against the NFL. They do not want to be associated because of the protest that was started by Mr. Kaepernick against racial injustice and police brutality,” Gerald Griggs, VP of the Atlanta chapter of the NAACP who reached out to multiple artists, told the Observer

Jay Z was criticized for changing his mind and partnering with the organization. A move many believed was performative justice or simply put a way for Jay Z to make bank while looking like he is doing activism. 

“Many black activists made similar market-based civil rights arguments through the 20th century, using the logic that wealth-building could undo the evils of racism,” Brentin Mock writes in City Lab. “None of those arguments have quite panned out for black people, as here we are in 2019 still struggling with these issues. The question is whether Jay-Z has learned from the failures of the past or if he’s simply employing more of the same.”

Needless to say, if Jay Z is going to catch heat for aligning himself with the NFL there is little reason Shakira wouldn’t.