When I first saw this
January 9, 2002 5:35 AM   Subscribe

When I first saw this in the Indiana Living section of the Indianapolis Star, I nearly did a spit take on my morning coffee.

These "educational" dolls have names like Starlet Stephanie, N.Y. Sammy, San Juan Carmen, Windy City Girl, East L.A. Lupe, Beantown Cynthia, and Confederate Tammy, and seem to be the worst sort of stereotyping (as well as relying on overly simplistic moralizing backstories).

What... no Waspy Wendy? Apparently they're working on a "Black-American" (from the article, I assume they mean "African-American"). Shouldn't children, by definition, be innocent, and not be subjected to these badly designed, poorly plotted, crypto-racist, "Ghetto-Patch kids?"
posted by jpburns (24 comments total)
These are extremely disturbing....
posted by LinemanBear at 5:56 AM on January 9, 2002

They look like the Garbage Pail Kids. This can't be real.

The Garbage Pail Kids were our first diversity training educational toys! Yes! Judge your neighbor for their sick traits, not the color of their skin.
posted by spslsausse at 6:03 AM on January 9, 2002

This is a joke. It has to be. Right?? Right??
posted by ColdChef at 6:06 AM on January 9, 2002

Everyone is supposed to be rich during playtime! How dare they make poor dolls!

As for the stories gawd, yes. Confederate Tammy's story about finding solace in friends from her alcoholic mother sure is “simplistic moralizing”. Fourth graders should be given the phone number for AA. Stephanie’s, about keeping a friend from selling drugs, is textbook crypto-racism and the worst sort of stereotyping.

Children in South Bronx need to be air dropped the wealthy (without working) “I like shopping” Barbie today!
posted by raaka at 6:22 AM on January 9, 2002

Aesthetically, Ugly.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:27 AM on January 9, 2002

Where the hell is Hanging Chad, Florida?
posted by sharksandwich at 6:30 AM on January 9, 2002

How about "Gun Totin' Texas Timmy?"
posted by ColdChef at 6:45 AM on January 9, 2002

You know, some of the art in the comic strips are distressingly reminiscent of Chick Tracts...
posted by Fenriss at 6:55 AM on January 9, 2002

I found these a few months ago and had the same reaction. This seems to me like some sheltered church lady who loves dolls and wants to help - unfortunately, she has only seen these problems on "Touched By An Angel" and is working with her narrow view of the world.
posted by hotdoughnutsnow at 7:34 AM on January 9, 2002

This is fucking creepy. "I wish you wouldn't drink to forget your problems, Mommy!"
posted by tweebiscuit at 7:35 AM on January 9, 2002

Here's another one: "If we have to we'll avoid those gang-bangers by taking the long way home tomorrow." Gang-bangers? Are you kidding me?
posted by tweebiscuit at 7:36 AM on January 9, 2002

That's stupid. Frankie looks like a bad Al Jolson drawing.

N.Y. Sammy is also ridiculous in that they single out italian americans as a group addicted to smoking. The anti-smoking message is bastardized by the racial stereotype. This site has to be some sort of parody..

I could say that as an 'Italian American', I'm somewhat offended, but I'm not. If that's the worst they got on us wops, fine. I'm just sickened by their stupidity.
posted by insomnyuk at 7:38 AM on January 9, 2002

It is sort of lost in time ... it has been decades since little Italian-American kids ran on the streets of Little Italy. Aside from a small strip of tourist-oriented restaurants and shops, and the ultra-touristy Festival every summer, it has been consumed by trendy SoHo'ians on the north and west and by Chinatown on the east and south. Real Italian Americans live in Jersey, Long Island, Staten Island, Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst ... anywhere but Little Italy!
posted by MattD at 7:45 AM on January 9, 2002

ÊÊÊÊÊ"What good would fighting have done?" Lupe asks. "It might have made it worse for Robert."
ÊÊÊÊÊMiguel nods. "There were alot of them," he says.
ÊÊÊÊÊ"That's where gang-bangers get their strength," Robert tells them. "Alone they are cowards."

Yes Robert. Why don't you test your theory? Find a gangsta' alone, corner him. and get shot.
posted by sharksandwich at 7:49 AM on January 9, 2002

"Beantown Cynthia" is just pathetic. Aside from the fact that New Englanders never use the term "Beantown," Cynthia's story plays up the tired notion that Boston is somehow more segregated and racist than other cities.

1972 was a long time ago, and we all blame that ugliness on the Irish who have since moved to the South Shore.
posted by Harry Hopkins' Hat at 7:55 AM on January 9, 2002

Check out the credit page. Talk about diversity.
posted by plaino at 8:04 AM on January 9, 2002

Hm, the mailing address isn't overly far from my house. Investigative reporting, coming soon!

Their "Novell Certified" website designer demonstrates why the term "Novell Certified" is meaningless when it comes to web design.
posted by hijinx at 8:17 AM on January 9, 2002

The "Level 2" version of the tale for Confederate Tammy is a bit abrupt... suspenseful even.

The art for these reminds me of the "Mini-Page" that was in the Sunday comics when I was a kid. This is not a good thing. Anyway, it seems well-meant, but every doll is such a sick stereotype (the half-Irish girl's father drinks?! The southern girl lives in a trailer?!) that I almost can't believe this is real.
posted by kittyb at 8:23 AM on January 9, 2002

I saw dolls like this (perhaps even the same dolls) on Politically Incorrect. They aren't for kids, they're for adults. It's a joke item.
posted by Doug at 8:24 AM on January 9, 2002

I suppose I could get offended by these this but instead I'm just weirded
out. This is just so clueless and badly put together that it's just more
freaky than anything else.I just can't imagine anyone taking this seriously
enough fro it to do any damage. As far as "ghetto" oriented comics and toys
go I think The Homies are far better than this. Or perhaps this stuff is some kind of weird retort
to the Homies. Perhaps.

posted by jonmc at 8:31 AM on January 9, 2002

Soemthing else odd about the whole mess; you're expected to purchase the dolls without ever actually seeing what they look like. Are we too assume that the comics present an entirely accurate depiction of the dolls?
I mean, it's not going to stop me from buying the whole set of them but still...
posted by TiggleTaggleTiger at 8:42 AM on January 9, 2002

Call me stupid, but just who is something like this suppose to educate? People raising children without prejudices don't need them and people passing on their prejudies will not be influcenced by this website or its "cute" little dolls.
posted by bjgeiger at 9:02 AM on January 9, 2002

the strips are like a hanna barbera cartoon. i like it.

it's sorta like playing pitfall, too.

ah. pitfall.
posted by fishfucker at 10:23 AM on January 9, 2002

According to the newspaper out here, they are not selling well in Seattle. Imagine.
posted by jessamyn at 10:54 AM on January 9, 2002

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