Walmart are being accused of Racism for marking down a Black Barbie to $3.00USD while selling the White Barbie for the full price of $5.93USD. Some argue Walmart needed to be more sensitive to issues of Race in the marketplace and that the company needs to sell all Barbies for the same amount.  Walmart replied, with a stone ear against a burning fire engulfing them, that they needed to move inventory and the Black Barbies had to be discounted so they would sell better.

Does Walmart deserve ridicule or credit for the pricing-by-skin-tone business scheme?  Walmart can’t say skin color didn’t have an influence in their decision making because they admitted they needed to clear out the weaker selling dark-skinned Barbies.  Is that Racism or good business?  Can you cleave the color from the consumption?

Are we taught at an early age White is better than Black?

In 1970, Toni Morrison wrote “The Bluest Eye” and, quite clearly, made the case that traditional European features — light skin and light eyes — torture young Black children with the preference of exclusion right in the midst of their own culture.

Why do all children prefer to play with White-skinned dolls over Black-skinned dolls?  Is it because they are innately Racist or have they been genetically pre-assimilated into the “White is Winsome” from the moment of birth?

If Light-Skinned-Black Beyonce Barbie outsells Pure-White Barbie — is that a sign of a sea change in thinking — or it is just a momentary fluke stoked by the facade of popularity?

If we ever hope to get along with each other, we need to figure out his skin preference color thing because it is not only infecting our now, but also our future children, and our daily choice in discounted plastic as well.


  1. It’s rather frightening, David. I would have thought that the Barbies would sell equally well. Then again, when you see Barbie on television you only see the pasty white one, not the darker skinned ones.

  2. Right. I don’t know if there’s a way out of this, Gordon, because it seems the majority sets the cultural tastes for everyone. I wonder if in Africa Black Barbies would be preferred over White Ones? In China — would an Asian Barbie sell better than a White Barbie?

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