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This toy makes me angry - Page 3

post #41 of 107
I have to agree with 2xy as well.

Rascism is no joke. But I get tired of everyone turning everything involving a person of color into a racial thing. I also hate it when black people are rude to me just because I'm white. That is what my DP calls "reverse racism" but it is just plain racism to me.
post #42 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by insahmniak View Post
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.



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."
If the first one the Sushi set was suppose to be in Japan wouldn't bother me. Heck even in the states it doesn't bother me. From my experience most Sushi bars are own by enterprising Asian's. My sil is Japanese she would appriciate the cook not being white. She is very annoyed a lot of Japanese toys are white without slanted eyes.

The slantd eyes tourist at Yellowstone was be offensive, why? Becuase that isn't the typical make up of the tourist. Yes they do come but a more accurate picture is a varity of colors and dress. I would be offended if it was not part of the option, though. Maybe one Asian with camara and a Nubian color and a white. American ethnic make up is different than Asian or Sub Saharian Africa.

As for the bussers being hispanic, it would depend on type of eatery and location it is suppose to represent. If it was the average American Restruant yes I would be offended but if it was a Mexican restruant I won't be especially if it was suppose to be in Mexico. Just like I would expect Itlian Cafe to have Itlian looking peices.
post #43 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by insahmniak View Post
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."
I agree that interchangeable pieces would be nice. Maybe someone should write to the company with that suggestion (and the reasons behind it) rather than just flaming a toy that was probably designed with no ill intent.

As for reinforcing stereotypes, what stereotype does that safari toy represent? That there are black people in Africa? Oh, and notice all the stereotypical animals, too. I mean, they could have included some penguins and a koala.
post #44 of 107
I can't say I appreciate the expression "lily-white". How would you feel if I described the driver as "charcoal-black"?

I'm not normally so sensitive, but when you make such a big deal about a racial issue such as this, I think it is very disrespectful to use a derogatory term.
post #45 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by calpurnia View Post
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.
There are rich black people who don't live in Africa. There are rich Chinese people. Rich Japanese people. Rich Indians, Pakistanis, Siberians, Palestinians, Israelis, Swedes, Inuits, African Americans, and yes, Africans.

Now granted, if you're African-African, you're not going to find that expensive safari as alluring as if you are African-British, let's say, or Indian-Australian.

But even if most tourists are white in Africa (which may be true), not nearly all of them are. It's just that people of different nationalities happen to congregate in the same resorts, so often all the Japanese tourists will be at one resort, and the Mexican tourists will be at another one. I do not know why this is but it happens. :

So again, while I don't find it at all offensive that the chauffeur / tour guide, whatever, of an African safari is depicted as dark (and as for him looking African, it might be hard to get all the features very specific on a doll like that, I mean there is a lot of genetic diversity in Africa and you could just as easily say that the features on the white dolls weren't "white"), it really is part of the overall unfair representation of whites that I personally would object to.

I didn't think about the safari point, but it is an interesting one!
post #46 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by OvenSeeksBun View Post
I can't say I appreciate the expression "lily-white". How would you feel if I described the driver as "charcoal-black"?

I'm not normally so sensitive, but when you make such a big deal about a racial issue such as this, I think it is very disrespectful to use a derogatory term.
The lily-white comment in this context is what grabbed my attention too!
post #47 of 107
I agree that it's offensive. The toymakers have made the assumption that the kids who are going to play with this toy are white. It's not that we have to pretend that white people don't go on safari and that black people don't guide them, but stop pretending that only white people go on safari and only black people guide them. The truth is that no matter what the social situation, our skins are all a shade of brown. The rest is cultural. If toys like this reflect what is true much or most of the time, they also perpetuate that reality by socializing kids to believe that it's the reality most or all of the time.

It also bugs me when I hear the argument that people are glad to have table scraps when others are starving, so that makes the situation fine. If immigrants to the U.S. are willing to accept the lowest paying jobs because it's all they can get, that's to their credit, not the system they are joining. To say that the dishwashers are all Hispanic is logical because they don't speak English ignores the fact that Spanish is very common in California as a first language, and that what you really mean is that the people with the money to eat at those restaurants don't speak Spanish. Because of economic and educational disparities, by and large English speakers are wealthier than Spanish speakers. The fact that opportunities are limited for some people because of their cultural heritage has a lot to do with racism, which is where it comes back to buying toys that represent people of all shades of brown playing all kinds of roles. No-one wants to perpetuate racism.
post #48 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by ilanaRose View Post
Sorry to say, but not everything is always, consciously or unconsciously, about race. A lot of people who visit africa are foreigners (many of whom are white) who go on safaris (because it's a popular tourist thing to do)....and many of those who drive the jeeps are black because Africa has a lot of black people and one of the available jobs is to drive a jeep on safaris... I think you're making this out to be more than it is... chauffered? how about, someone has a job (albeit bad for the environment, but a job IS a job). Yes, they could have put two brown people or 1 brown 1 black, or 1 brown 1 white, person in the jeep, but honestly, I doubt they gave it that much thought...must everything be so politically correct? I find myself not wanting to buy my son every multi-cultural toy that exists because that in and of itself might make him form some complex about race...just my opinion...this is coming from a multicultural african/mexican/european family...
^^This

Im a dark skinned Dominican girl and I too have a multicultural family. The toy made perfect sense, what do most tourist who visit Africa do? Go on Safari, a lot of this tourists are white. The tour guide is black, because they wanted it to represent an African person (not that all of African people are black, but most are).

I think the OP is over-analyzing this toy or maybe Im just not that sensitive to these kind of things.
post #49 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by singin'intherain View Post
It also bugs me when I hear the argument that people are glad to have table scraps when others are starving, so that makes the situation fine.... The fact that opportunities are limited for some people because of their cultural heritage has a lot to do with racism, which is where it comes back to buying toys that represent people of all shades of brown playing all kinds of roles. No-one wants to perpetuate racism.
I know you were referring to the example of the Hispanic restaurant workers, but in reference to the actual toy I'm still not sure what the issue is. Is ALL service work totally degrading just because the customers are wealthier or a different color than you? I mean, granted I have never liked retail work or the food service industry myself (all jobs suck sometimes), but it's offensive to hear some of the descriptions people have of this kind of work since nearly everyone I know has worked in the service industry before (or still does...and likely will for the rest of their lives). Hell I've even been a min-wage museum tour guide and I never felt like I was in a "table scrap" kind of situation where I needed to be pitied and defended. I guess it just comes off as really classist in a way, though I realise it's not intended.

I think there is way too much backstory going on as well...do we know the driver is a tour guide who has had his oppertunities limited by racism, and that's why it's not some white guy doing the "crap-work" instead? I mean, I really think we are reading our own American slave/plantation guilt a little too far into this toy. I'm not going to pity and look down on the poor oppressed puzzle piece who may in fact be operating his own vehicle, working for the government, or even enjoying his job...but then again I don't pity or look down upon those who work in the service industry or who work for tips.
post #50 of 107
I agree that the offensive bit isn't the tour guide, but the lack of diversity of the passengers. I don't think I'd buy it... or I think if I really wanted to buy it, I would email the company and ask them to sub in different passengers, with at least a bit more diversity. And come on, where are the safari passengers hats? (As a fair person prone to mole issues who has visited Africa (although Egypt... no safaris)... that's what comes to mind.) Shouldn't they be setting a better example? At least safari guide guy is smart enough to wear a hat.

But having visited the company's website, they don't seem to have a lot of variety in the appearance of their people. I mean, Noah of Noah's Ark is a very very very pale person... no where near looking like the Semitic guy who lived his entire life outside in the days before sunscreen. http://www.imagiplay.com/productsdet...me=Noahs%20Ark
post #51 of 107
"If toys like this reflect what is true much or most of the time, they also perpetuate that reality by socializing kids to believe that it's the reality most or all of the time."

My head is whirling at this one. So kids are incapable of understanding that just because these two passengers happen to be white, that passengers on safari aren't always white without a toy to explicitly show them?

So reality (as represented by the laws of averages) shouldn't be represented? Unless you like the reality it shows?
post #52 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by ilanarose View Post
sorry to say, but not everything is always, consciously or unconsciously, about race. A lot of people who visit africa are foreigners (many of whom are white) who go on safaris (because it's a popular tourist thing to do)....and many of those who drive the jeeps are black because africa has a lot of black people and one of the available jobs is to drive a jeep on safaris... I think you're making this out to be more than it is... Chauffered? How about, someone has a job (albeit bad for the environment, but a job is a job). Yes, they could have put two brown people or 1 brown 1 black, or 1 brown 1 white, person in the jeep, but honestly, i doubt they gave it that much thought...must everything be so politically correct? I find myself not wanting to buy my son every multi-cultural toy that exists because that in and of itself might make him form some complex about race...just my opinion...this is coming from a multicultural african/mexican/european family...
ita
post #53 of 107
Something about it bothers me too...but of course I recently encountered a neighbor who grew up in SA and she actually had this toy for her child and doesn't assosicate with any one other than "whites" in the neighborhood, so I am much more bothered than normal having dealt with this mom lately.
post #54 of 107
I agree with what ilanaRose said in the beginning.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OvenSeeksBun View Post
I can't say I appreciate the expression "lily-white". How would you feel if I described the driver as "charcoal-black"?

I'm not normally so sensitive, but when you make such a big deal about a racial issue such as this, I think it is very disrespectful to use a derogatory term.
Well said, momma!

Why is it ok to call someone "lily-white" when you complain about racism?!
post #55 of 107
If this maker's toys are all about white people having fun and minorities "serving" them, I would have a problem with that toy maker, but if it is one of many toys produced (and one of many in my home) showing the diverse world in which we live, then I do not see a problem with it. I do not think that we should avoid putting people of certain colors or ethnicities in any role, any more than we should depict any given role as the job of one ethnicity or another. As another PP pointed out, we are not surprised to see giraffes and elephants as part of the safari toy, so why should we be shocked to see a black African providing a service to tourists who happen to be of a different color/ethnicity? As another PP pointed out, if there was a white driver, then someone would complain that they have not even bothered to depict black Africans. So which situation is more racist? Hard to tell out of context that a toy cannot be expected to provide.

[QUOTE=ihugtrees;14945014]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.
QUOTE]

Well, the fact of the matter is that the tourism industry is an important source of foreign exchange and jobs for many countries in Africa and elsewhere (including developed countries such as Italy and France). The tourism sector has a very large mutiplier effect on local economies, including local farms that provide fresh produce, tour guides (such as the so-called "chauffeur" in this toy), handicraft makers, lawyers, accountants, traders, taxi drivers, and so on. OK, maybe the money spent on my flight is "wasted" (though it does provide jobs to airport staff in the destination country), but please do not discount the value of the tourism sector. Is there exploitation in the sector? Yes, but let us not throw the baby out with the bath water. My work is in developing countries, to create sustainable job opportunities in productive sectors of the economy, which may include tourism, as well as manufacturing, information technology and related services, from microenterprises to local entrepreneurs to foreign investors that bring in new technologies and training. Civil unrest, disease and poverty are a symptom of a country without sustainable job opportunities. Creating those jobs, in tourism or other sectors, is neither sick nor disgusting, and can contribute toward greater stability and, eventually, greater prosperity.

Yes, there are sickeningly poor people in the many countries in which I work, but you cannot expect that to be reflected in a child's toy. How many people are going to buy the Playmobil version of the shanty town with unsanitary water supplies, no medical services, hunger and deathly epidemics? And, yes, there are also horrible inequities that are the legacy of colonialism and racism throughout Africa, but again this is a safari-themed toy that cannot be expected to address all these issues.
post #56 of 107
*Sigh.*

The issue that I want to address is the idea some here seem to have that if the intention of the toy-maker (just in this instance, but we could be talking about anything) wasn't overtly racist (as in, a group of old white guys sitting in a room and saying, "You know what'll REALLY reinforce the racist worldview that we want to engender in small children...?!") that it can't, then, be racist.

Similarly, that if a person of color doesn't find the thing offensive or racist that it mustn't be.

Or that if the (again, in this case) toy depicts something "accurately" that it can't be racist.

I find all of these assumptions utterly erroneous.

People can make toys or create things that promulgate racist ideas because it is unconscious and because, like many people on this thread, don't think that what they are doing is racist because it is "realistic." People who consider themselves accepting and liberal-minded can, I believe, have racist ideas because these ideas are so deeply embedded in us and our culture.

Sometimes it will be the gut reaction of a person like the OP and some of the PPs who recognize the (perhaps subtle) racism at work in a toy set like this. A gut reaction like that can set off a whole dialogue about race that can be thoughtful and eye-opening, which is something that recently happened at my university. There was a long-standing exhibit at our historical museum, a diorama of "Native American Culture." One could look at it and say, "Hey, cool, here we are looking at a really interesting and accurate depiction of Native Americans centuries ago! Look what they ate! Look how they built fires!" Or you could have someone like the Native American activist who talked about the racism at work in the diorama, which she said was immediately sensed by the Native American children who visited the museum. The exhibit, as it was being dismantled, became a way to talk about race, about what it means to Watch someone, or what it means for a museum exhibit that was curated by white historians and museum curators to be the "protectorate" of Native American culture. In short, it opened a fascinating dialogue about all of the implications of racism and they surprising ways in which it could manifest itself.

This is a pretty crude analogy but what would we be saying about our children playing with a toy set called "Antebellum Times." Slaves working the fields? And the happy house slave cooking in the kitchen? Totally accurate! But including these things in a TOY set normalizes them for our children. Instead of teaching them about racism and about the complex ways in which racism appears throughout history, it shows them that this is normal and fine.

Some people seem to think that because being a safari guide is a good job in terms of certain parts of Africa that this is not racist. I think that people who have studied Africa and studied the history of these things will realize that the implications of the tourist industry in Africa can be troubling and that a deeper analysis of this system (like so many other things) is worthy of further thought or discussion before we simply foist these things on our children without thinking about these things.

In short, I'm with you, OP!
post #57 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by La Sombra View Post
People can make toys or create things that promulgate racist ideas because it is unconscious and because, like many people on this thread, don't think that what they are doing is racist because it is "realistic."
You are right.

And people can also make a conscious effort to look for racism where none exists.

Quote:
Originally Posted by La Sombra
This is a pretty crude analogy but what would we be saying about our children playing with a toy set called "Antebellum Times." Slaves working the fields? And the happy house slave cooking in the kitchen? Totally accurate! But including these things in a TOY set normalizes them for our children. Instead of teaching them about racism and about the complex ways in which racism appears throughout history, it shows them that this is normal and fine.
Well, I would find a slavery set to be appalling no matter what color the people were. That sort of a toy would normalize slavery, not racism.
post #58 of 107
*Derailing thread*

But you can't separate racism from slavery!!!! The two were deeply, intricately, intimately intertwined!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
post #59 of 107
i have a feeling that WAY too many people here have WAY too much time to think about these things.

i suggest that instead of complaining about the racisim involved with these toys perhaps you create some that would reflect how you would like people to view the world.
or maybe you can volunteer for some organization working to equalize race or something.

arguing over a toy on a forum about whether its racist or not is just getting ridiculous and people are getting WAY too deep about it.

its a TOY, if you dont like it, dont buy it.
post #60 of 107
Don't have a comment but enjoyed reading all the thoughts.
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