Before We Burn the Dollhouse Down, Let’s Think This Through

By Joseph Rendeiro, Communications Department, NCLR


How do you feel about the budget proposal from the White House that has pretty substantial cuts to Social Security?  What do you think about the Senate voting to open debate about gun control legislation?  What are you looking for in the immigration bill expected to be introduced any day nowIs the new Mexican Barbie racist?  One of these things is not like the other.

There’s a lot of cultural insensitivity in this world.  Sometimes it’s somebody deliberately trying to push the envelope and other times it’s a person putting their foot in their mouth.  And while stupidity is in no way in short supply, sensitivity—and, in fact, over-sensitivity—can be just as exasperating.  So excuse me while I roll my eyes back over, and let’s have a brief chat about “Mexican Barbie.”

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Amidst debates over immigration, the federal budget, and gun control, we should not be bothering with this total non-issue.  Has this sparked actual outrage or is it a controversy completely blown out of proportion?  I don’t know, but there are already far too many stories, blogs, tweets, and Facebook statuses dedicated to this topic—and here’s one more.

The simple fact is that this Barbie is part of a larger line called Dolls of the World that celebrates cultures from across the globe.  They’ve done these for everywhere from Chile to France to India and the vast majority of the dolls wear some sort of culturally relevant costume.  I’m pretty sure I didn’t miss the Irish Immigration Reform Movement’s boycott of Mattel over the bright green costume and Irish Setter they gave their stereotypically ginger-haired Irish Barbie.  So let’s not freak out about Mexican Barbie’s cute pink traditional dress and Chihuahua. I mean, the Chinese Barbie got a panda and the Indian Barbie got a monkey.

As for the passport that comes with the Barbie, I understand why people would be sensitive about this.  But, honestly, they may be looking for something to get mad about when there really isn’t anything there.  The passports are part of the packaging for every doll in this collection, not a political statement about documentation.

Next time somebody decides to get worked up about something like a Barbie, I suggest they take a minute to skim through the first couple pages of the New York Times or the Washington Post.  I promise you, there are plenty of things in this country to get angry about—Barbies are rarely one of them. So please, save your outrage for something that matters.

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