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This toy makes me angry - Page 2

post #21 of 107
When you look closer, he really doesn't even look like an African. He looks Middle Eastern or Indian, or like a mix.
post #22 of 107
We're white and my ds has a huge passion for animals. I've actually never bought him a safari playset, not because it irks me to see a black tour guide (in fact, as others have pointed out, it would be even more irksome to have a tour guide who was NOT black in the African safari playset). But the "passengers" in the playset are always 100% pallid. This must be the 20th playset I've seen with all-white passengers. So that's the stumbling block for me.
post #23 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by ticklemegreen View Post
I didn't think of him as a chauffer, he's a tour guide. It's an African Safari. Most people in Africa are black. I think you're looking too far into this.
Yep, it didn't bother me at all. I felt it was realistic.
post #24 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jane91 View Post
After being on safari in Botswana, my experience is that @85% of the visitors are european tourists. Remainder American with no Africans (of any color) as visitors.

Being a guide is NOT being a chauffeur -- these are people who are experienced and knowledgable about the intricate wildlife around them. Park ranger is a much better equivalent. In fact, I believe guiding was traditionally a "white" job (and I have heard generally remains so in South Africa), so black guides are in fact progress.

I believe photo safaris do assist in preserving local wildlife as hunting is prohibited on all the concessions we visited, and if you pick your company wisely, can be an economic benefit to citizens.

I will admit, when we first arrived there was a bit of an uncomfortable feeling being white while all the service providers (cooks, staff, etc.) were black -- that sort of plantation thing someone mentioned. But I thought -- if I were in Japan or India having a similar experience, would I be uncomfortable that all the staff was Japanese or Indian?

Exactly! When in Malawi (1997) the guides were all white. The house servants were all black.

Being PC doesn't work unless you are very knowledgablety about the culture and what it is like in reality. Until you have seen the shanty towns most live in, you don't realise how greatful someone is to have the job of house servant/ gardener / chaffeure.
post #25 of 107
I'm not the OP, but...

Just because it is realistic does not mean it is not racist. Racism is still alive and well all over the world, so even if the toy does 'make sense', it doesn't mean it's right. And, I DON'T feel it's right. I think there is something sick & twisted about rich, privileged folks going to a country and spending more money in a few weeks than most people on that continent will have in their lifetimes...a country which is stricken with civil unrest, disease and poverty like they will never understand...and yet their very presence as a tourist creates the only job in which an African man can make a decent living? Meanwhile the countryside and the animals are exploited? It's disgusting to me. My father went on a mission trip to Kenya, to help build an orphanage (which I didn't agree with. The truth is, all the money you spend getting to Africa to 'help' could be better spent if you just sent it on over), and they did take a safari while they were there...the animals, especially the elephants, were very disturbed by their presence. It's just sad to me.

Okay, okay, I know it's a toy. But this is in response to all of the people here who are saying, 'It's a-ok! That's the way it is in Africa!' So what? Yes, much of Africa is a horribly impoverished country that can best make money by inviting white tourists in to gawk at them. That doesn't mean it's all right.

But, I look at the world very differently than most people, so that could be the problem here. And, after all, we are talking about something completely different, when we go from toys to actual safari's. But that's just my 2 cents.
post #26 of 107
I think you're overthinking it. I don't find it offensive at all. It wouldn't even cross my mind.

I agree with this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by fresh_veggie View Post
DH and I lived in Mozambique for several years. I don't find this toy offensive. This "chauffeur" is HAPPY to have his job as a safari guide. He would give his testicles to keep it, because he makes more than 95% of the local African population. He could be cutting sugar cane all day every day for $30 a month...because there is no minimum wage or workers protection in Africa, thanks to the local Africans who run the government. That "chauffeur" could go and be a logger for the Chinese in Africa - even better! He'd make $25 a month for the one of the hardest and most dangerous jobs around. And those lily white people (plus all the other people who go on tours, like Middle Easterners and Asians) going on the safari are the only ones contributing to his current pay anyway, because you don't see the native Africans going on safaris. Plus they're likely to tip him very well, a hundred dollars or more per trip. It's his JOB, and it is a good one.

I see how children could get the wrong idea from this toy, seeing white people chauffeured by a black man, I don't deny that. But if kids know that these are tourists visiting the African man in his home, Africa, it would make more sense to them.

I personally don't like safaris, especially because of the animal cruelty involved sometimes (we don't eat meat). There really isn't a huge amount of environmental damage.. in Kruger Park for example, you just drive the jeep out into a huge open range. No harm done.
post #27 of 107
I'm not bothered that the driver has brown skin..but they could have introduced a bit more color variety among the passengers....perhaps a couple more passengers, and at least some brown hair, if not some darker skin ? I don't like that the toy goes along with assumptions about race, even if they may be likely to be true...I just don't like to cast race that way with toys or books.
post #28 of 107
well it's hard to say, isn't it... a lot of the pp made sense to me... but i can see why it is offensive too. Because if you, I, or we don't stand up to racism now, even in an organic wooden toymaking company (and i am very pro organic wooden toys, believe me!) who will? and if not now, when? I think it may be appropriate to contact the company and voice your opinion on a toy like this and the message therein JMHO
post #29 of 107
Yeah, I wouldn't buy it. Realistic, maybe, but if a toy makes you wince until you hear the explanation...
post #30 of 107
I'm not Black or African, but I wouldn't buy it, either.
post #31 of 107
..
post #32 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by aramat View Post
Yeah, I wouldn't buy it. Realistic, maybe, but if a toy makes you wince until you hear the explanation...


All the PPs justifications of the driver/guide doesn't make this toy any less offensive. I would say more, however I am still too emotionally raw after seeing the picture to be eloquent.

I will say that being offended by things that I may feel to be racist does not mean I'm "overreacting".
post #33 of 107
Yes, it is offensive. I agree with I hug trees that just because it's an "accurate" depiction doesn't mean it's okay. What message does it send young girls when they see a poster of all the american presidents? That it's a man's job. Not for them. Or a depiction of Mexicans bussing tables in an L.A. restaurant with a while clientele. Accurate, certainly, but offensive. Children pick up on all these little clues to understand their world. I don't care how happy the black guy is with his job. It sends the wrong message. We as parents need to be vigilant in not perpetuating stereotypes and give our kids a different vision of the world so that a better, more equal, world can be realized.
post #34 of 107
Of course the guests on safaris are white. Safaris are expensive. Just 'cause black Africans mostly never get a chance to see an elephant or a giraffe, thus making this toy a realistic representation, doesn't mean it isn't a fundamentally unequal situation on the ground.

My initial objection was to the consistent emphasis on the animals of Africa. "Kids will explore the most fascinating region on our planet from the comfort of their own rolling puzzle jeep." Right! That's animals & a baobab tree, never people, music, culture, architecture.
post #35 of 107
double post
post #36 of 107
So, when I go to a Japanese steakhouse, should I be offended that all the chefs are Japanese? When I visit the Polynesian Cultural Center in Hawaii, should I be offended that all the hirees appear to be Hawaiian/Samoan/Maori?

If I visit India and go on a tour, there's a pretty good chance that the tour guide will be Indian. That's not racist; it's just logical. If you go on an African safari, there's a good chance that the tour guide will be African. If you go on an African safari, there's a good chance that you are NOT African.

If you admit that these toys are accurate representations of the world, then your issue is with the world, not the toys. If you don't like the idea of Africans giving tours to white foreigners, then I don't know what to say.

I also don't understand how it's offensive to have Mexicans bussing tables in a restaurant. I work with many Hispanic people who are happy to have steady work despite not speaking English. Out of our waitstaff, only one is Hispanic. All our other Hispanic employees work as cooks, bussers, dishwashers because dealing with the general public requires mastery of the primary local language. This is racist? Really? I think sometimes people become so focused on skin color that they don't realize there might be a multitude of other reasons for things being as they are.
post #37 of 107
Being a tour guide or a park ranger is actually a very good job in most parts of Africa (when you're not being shot at by poachers, that is!). And whilst driving through the bush in a 4WD burns a lot of fossil fuel, these folks are actually the good guys when it comes to environmental awareness & conservation.

My main problem with the toy in question is that the people are not interchangeable- I like to see toys that are more flexible rather than each part has to fit in a particular place in order for it to work. I know it's supposed to be a puzzle, but to me it doesn't seem like a very challenging one.
post #38 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2xy View Post
So, when I go to a Japanese steakhouse, should I be offended that all the chefs are Japanese? When I visit the Polynesian Cultural Center in Hawaii, should I be offended that all the hirees appear to be Hawaiian/Samoan/Maori?

If I visit India and go on a tour, there's a pretty good chance that the tour guide will be Indian. That's not racist; it's just logical. If you go on an African safari, there's a good chance that the tour guide will be African. If you go on an African safari, there's a good chance that you are NOT African.

If you admit that these toys are accurate representations of the world, then your issue is with the world, not the toys. If you don't like the idea of Africans giving tours to white foreigners, then I don't know what to say.

I also don't understand how it's offensive to have Mexicans bussing tables in a restaurant. I work with many Hispanic people who are happy to have steady work despite not speaking English. Out of our waitstaff, only one is Hispanic. All our other Hispanic employees work as cooks, bussers, dishwashers because dealing with the general public requires mastery of the primary local language. This is racist? Really? I think sometimes people become so focused on skin color that they don't realize there might be a multitude of other reasons for things being as they are.
I have to agree with this.


I also feel you can use this toy to open discussion and explore more of the world. I think a nice book about southern African cultures. Wonderful Anisis (SP) stories are abound. Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters then you can start moving north to The Egyptian Cinderella are two different Cinderella storys from the African continent. Not all Africians are Nubian. Nubian is what most people think of when they think of "African". When you think the continant is all Nubian you are dening the wide varity of cultures and skin variations in Africa.

I had a relationship with a man from Morocco -- can't say we dated but we did misbehave together. He was amazed at how ignorant Americans were about the cultural diveristy of the African Continant.
post #39 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2xy View Post
So, when I go to a Japanese steakhouse, should I be offended that all the chefs are Japanese? When I visit the Polynesian Cultural Center in Hawaii, should I be offended that all the hirees appear to be Hawaiian/Samoan/Maori?

If I visit India and go on a tour, there's a pretty good chance that the tour guide will be Indian. That's not racist; it's just logical. If you go on an African safari, there's a good chance that the tour guide will be African. If you go on an African safari, there's a good chance that you are NOT African.

If you admit that these toys are accurate representations of the world, then your issue is with the world, not the toys. If you don't like the idea of Africans giving tours to white foreigners, then I don't know what to say.

I also don't understand how it's offensive to have Mexicans bussing tables in a restaurant. I work with many Hispanic people who are happy to have steady work despite not speaking English. Out of our waitstaff, only one is Hispanic. All our other Hispanic employees work as cooks, bussers, dishwashers because dealing with the general public requires mastery of the primary local language. This is racist? Really? I think sometimes people become so focused on skin color that they don't realize there might be a multitude of other reasons for things being as they are.
Well said, I totally agree with you.
post #40 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beene View Post

who makes this garbage? What next? A plantation with slaves?
Perhaps. Call it a reality toy, I suppose, and argue that because the slave has a smile on his face he must be really grateful to be a house slave and not out in the field.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2xy View Post
So, when I go to a Japanese steakhouse, should I be offended that all the chefs are Japanese? When I visit the Polynesian Cultural Center in Hawaii, should I be offended that all the hirees appear to be Hawaiian/Samoan/Maori?

If I visit India and go on a tour, there's a pretty good chance that the tour guide will be Indian. That's not racist; it's just logical. If you go on an African safari, there's a good chance that the tour guide will be African. If you go on an African safari, there's a good chance that you are NOT African.

If you admit that these toys are accurate representations of the world, then your issue is with the world, not the toys. If you don't like the idea of Africans giving tours to white foreigners, then I don't know what to say.

I also don't understand how it's offensive to have Mexicans bussing tables in a restaurant. I work with many Hispanic people who are happy to have steady work despite not speaking English. Out of our waitstaff, only one is Hispanic. All our other Hispanic employees work as cooks, bussers, dishwashers because dealing with the general public requires mastery of the primary local language. This is racist? Really? I think sometimes people become so focused on skin color that they don't realize there might be a multitude of other reasons for things being as they are.
I completely see where you're coming from and no, I do not object to eating sushi made by someone from that culture. But would you buy a sushi set where all the people eating are white the the guy making the sushi has slanted eyes? How about a Yellowstone set where the guides are all blond and the tourists have dark hair, slanted eyes and are carrying cameras? A restaurant toy where the bussers are hispanic?

I would hope for our kids that we free them from this baggage. Giving them toys that reinforce stereotypes is limiting for everyone. My daughter, who LOVES animals and wildlife, might really love to dream of being in the driver's seat of that vehicle. I agree with the pp who suggested an improvement would be to have things interchangeable. That would redeem this toy and better meet their goal of producing "toys with integrity."
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