I received this email from my friend, Angela after viewing the above picture on her wall on Facebook. I laughed at first, because besides it’s obvious buffoonery (a monkey with a bottle) I laughed a little out of disgust. I’m sure some may have seen this picture and heard this story but for those who haven’t, here’s the email:
In this day and age, racism and ugly stereotypes continue to rear its ugly head. The recent Gates case, the Boston police officer calling Gates a “banana eating jungle monkey”, and others are strong examples.
Racism and negative stereotypical portrayals of African Americans comes in many forms.
John Taylor and his wife, Donna who live in North Carolina , recently went to COSTCO in Greensboro and could not believe what they saw perched on the shelf for sale. As the photos show, the
baby doll is being hugged by a monkey and the doll has a cap on its head that says ” lil’monkey” !They have lodged complaints with the COSTCO Corporate HQS and while their efforts succeeded in getting the doll
pulled from the Greensboro store, the doll is still on sale in Winston Salem and likely in other locations.
These dolls are in insult to us all and need to be pulled from all COSTCO stores or wherever they are being sold. COSTCO also owes their customers an apology. I hope you are as outraged as I am and if so,
call COSTCO HQs and demand that this product be removed from their shelves without delay. It is the “Cuddle Baby” product #404860 and the corporate headquarters number is 800-7742678.
Please feel free to spread the word to your networks to contact COSTCO and demand they stop selling this doll.
Most of us have already heard or seen the fiasco behind the watermelon flavored soda sold in Target with the minstrel-like logo. It’s becoming ridiculous that we’re still fighting THIS level of ignorance in 2009 when we should be evolving AWAY from the blatant hatred of people’s skin color. I sigh in exhaust off of the different things I see daily that set us back hundreds of years. I JUST wrote a blog on how people use the texture of their hair to become classicist within our own people. So, as Black people struggle to get hold of some semblance of unity in the wake of our Black president’s induction…in a country where most media marketing uses our music to touch the younger demographic…where women tan and implant to achieve a more “ethnic” or “exotic” appearance…I just can’t believe there’s a black doll packaged with a monkey. I asked my friend to let me know if there were “Caucasian counterparts” to this doll. Just so that I could relate, relax, release. Yet, when I thought of it, how different would it be? It would be just like the soda can’s other side having a little Caucasian boy on it. All to offset the impact. A few friends laughed and said, that if there ARE other dolls…they’re probably not with the same animal. There might be a puppy or kitten, etc…but no monkey. As I researched, I didn’t find much on any other versions of the doll…but, I did read that there WERE dolls of the Caucasian and Hispanic persuasion that also came with monkeys…but as I said, it doesn’t matter. The damage was done. By the time I’d read about this, the dolls had already been swiftly removed from Costco’s shelves. This one site where it was being discussed in comments had very good points. One person states:
“Mom’s across the world refer to their children as “Little Monkey”, it is a term of endearment like “Sweet Pea”. The “Little Monkey” doll set comes in all ethnic “colors” and is accompanied by an actual stuffed monkey. People look for reasons to be insulted. You would think people would tire of looking for insults around every corner, it’s energy consuming. First you have to convince yourself you look like a monkey, then you have to declare the monkey uncute or undesirable so the comparison is offensive, then you have to find someone to complain to and wait for sympathy. Geeze. Find something better to do with your time.”
She could have a point, but then I am curious to know her ethnicity…yet again, it doesn’t matter. Most BLACK people don’t need to go through a step-by-step process to comprehend the offensiveness. It’s instant. When in the history of racism, there have been certain images and stereotypes linked to our appearance, one doesn’t need to “feel” ugly to see the ugliness in something like this. Some things just need more careful consideration and research when being marketed to a country where the history of slavery and racism doesn’t always quite feel like history. From now on companies should have that ONE token Black dude or chick from the mail dept. to come up and give their opinion. If they’d asked someone from the streets…they would’ve known better.
Do you want to know what is funny ironic…not funny comedic? When I was pushing opinion on the watermelon soda and fighting against it’s imagery, not the fruit…I likened it to the concept of someone throwing a banana in a black kid’s hand and inferring that the child was a monkey. That we wouldn’t stop liking bananas…just the hate behind the concept. Right about now, the thought of a banana is making me nauseous.