I’ve started thinking about making dolls again and out of curiosity I decided to check what was out there for sale on Etsy.
I typed “black doll” in the search box…
To my surprise, a percentage of the dolls in the results were, well, clearly racist. Some of them were listed as “vintage”. Selling racist items is per se pretty horrible, but on top of that most of these dolls weren’t even “vintage”, but new dolls made to look old by people profiting from racist stereotypes. Others were listed as “primitive”, but were mostly also racist dolls with a ragged look. Another usual misleading tag is “collectible”.
Another surprise was finding people selling patterns to make these dolls, not caring about perpetuating racism.
This is not creative freedom. Or freedom of speech. This is hating, diminishing, laughing at, despising human beings with dark skin. The worst part is that if these items are for sale, it means there are people out there willing to buy them.
And I don’t believe that the sellers don’t know about depiction of racism, not in 2017.
Who buys these items? Do the buyers show these dolls proudly in their houses? Do children play with these monstrous creations? Who would want to collect these things? Why Etsy allows these items to be sold and profit from racism too?