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BDA Responds to Walmart's Damaging Merchandising
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I am Dana Hill, Founder & Publicist of The Black Doll Affair, along with my members: The Black Dolls, Porcelain Dolls, Black Doll Brothas and Porcelain Pals, we reach out to you.
The 1940 and 2005 “Doll Test” revealed that black children prefer white dolls to black dolls and view black dolls as ugly and bad. On its way around the country, there are more than 500 Black Dolls and their FAN CLUB is made up of thousands. The Black Doll Affair is a grassroots, philanthropic, social movement that began in 2007. Headed up by black women referred to as The Black Dolls, Black Dolls are all ages, shades and sizes. Some Black Dolls are runway fashion models, others are community role models. Their common denominator, is to reverse ugly ‘doll test’ results and change the way black girls are perceived. More importantly, the way they perceive themselves.
For its ongoing efforts to stock its shelves with black dolls, The Black Dolls and I commend Wal-Mart. However, an ABC news story and firestorm of responses, brought to our attention, that recently a poor decision to leave the discounted black Barbie next to its white fraternal twin Barbie, yielded undesirable PR and proved to be a poor product management decision for your company.
Wal-Mart is THAT the message you intended?
Although, we believe your recent actions were an innocent slight and were more than likely rooted in Retail Merchandising 101, [If a product isn't selling, discounting is implemented], The Black Dolls and I are writing to ask Wal-Mart to JOIN us in our mission to remind a black girl of her beauty. By considering the disastrous affects your decision has on a little girl standing in front of two identical dolls,prem one with a preium price tag, the other devalued to clearance, we believe you can HELP us in our fight to repair immeasurable and often time irreparable damage to a black child's vulnerable self-image. As the silent message your merchandising choice sent to black girls, those of us big and little, translates to: "The doll that looks like you is cheap, worthless, invaluable, meaningless, less than. Wal-Mart is THAT the message you intended?
With chapters in Atlanta, Florida, Washington DC, New York City and Los Angeles, each time the Black Dolls gather for a playdate they bring with them new toy black dolls. Often times purchased from your stores.
Because of the frequency of our playdates, in states where we have chapters, The Black Dolls are arguably responsible for a large portion of black dolls sold throughout the year. The Black Doll Affair is hopeful that Wal-mart understands the potential repercussions of their actions. This is not an issue of black people "playing the race card." In our post racial society, where so many people taut the phrase, “I don’t see color,” why in 2010, are parents of black children still explaining why our value as a people, as a race and basically as human beings is still in a state of flux? The answer is rooted in simple mathmatics. If you continually devalue a person, at some point they buy into and see themselves as unworthy. Although Wal-mart just saw this process as inventory management, it creates a firestorm of emotions deeply rooted in our culture where the phrase, "If you are white you’re right, if you’re black go back " is given a lot of credence. Wal-Mart is THAT the message you intended?
Corporate responsibility goes beyond sound fiscal and financial goals. It also means social responsibility: When a company takes into consideration how their actions can adversely affect their consumers. It's "innocent" acts such as yours, that accumulate over the years and send a CLEAR, EFFECTIVE, communication to black girls everywhere, that they simply are not as good as white girls. Wal-Mart is THAT the message you intended?
With current news stories out about Wal-Mart and the black community, one can see that you're so obviously dealing with a problematic PR nightmare. More, we suspect, this is NOT the message that Wal-Mart wishes to send to their black customers, worse, their innocent children. In consideration of your problem and our suspicion, The Black Dolls and I are writing to give a SIMPLE SOLUTION: solve current and future problematic PR nightmares by being more THOUGHTFUL in your merchandising and implementing a new corporate policy to move ethnic dolls that are poor sellers to a clearance/sale area ... Far, far away from their white counterparts NOT on sale!
Meanwhile, The Black Dolls and I will do our part and continue to remind a black girl of her beauty and include your stores in our places to shop for black dolls. More importantly, we hereby promise that we will continue to grow our movement across this great country to ensure that those black dolls don't collect dust on your shelves - those discounted and not so much!
Either way, we look forward to your feedback. On Friday, March 26th our Dolls Feedback will be HERE.
We love playing with Black Dolls,
Dana M. Hill & The Black Doll Family,
THE BLACK DOLL AFFAIR
I Love being a Black Doll!!!