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Mom to Mattel: Where Are the Black Barbie Party Supplies?

Mattel

A Barbie party is what her daughter wanted, and that’s what Harlem mom Karen Greene Braithwaite wanted to give her.

That is until the mom went in search of party supplies and found only blonde-hair, blue-eyed Barbie staring back at her from cups, napkins and favors. Braithwaite and her daughter are black. 

“Mattel already offers a wide selection of dolls of different races and ethnicities—which simply begs the question: Why not give young girls of color the option of seeing and celebrating that same diversity when it comes to celebrating themselves?” Braithwaite wrote online.  

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Of course, she probably knew she could get crafty and create her own “black Barbie” party like this mama. But why should she have to?

Instead, Braithwaite did what any self-respecting modern mama bear would do: She launched an online petition calling out the toy maker and demanding action. "Barbies of color represent all these things to young girls of color, and the Barbie theme is a very popular birthday party theme," she writes.

"Mattel is already on the right track by offering a wide selection of dolls of different races and ethnicities--which simply begs the question: why not give young girls of color the option of seeing and celebrating that same diversity when it comes to celebrating themselves?”

So far, more than 3,000 supporters have added their names and comments to the Barbie petition, which is rapidly spreading across Facebook and Twitter.

Plus: Barbie Gets Tattooed, Parents are Unamused

Just today, my daughter asked for a Barbie birthday party and I thought to myself, I don't know how that's going to happen because I've never seen any black Barbie party supplies," Kidda Green of Detroit commented on the petition page.

“This is a simple thing to fix and it would mean a great deal to the girls and their mothers. It affirms and celebrates who they, are and that is important.” said WIlla-Jo Greene of Beltsville, Maryland.

“Every little girl should see herself and proud,” wrote Terrie Cammarat of  New York City.

Mattel, in a statement to the New York Daily News, said the company has had a “long track record of designing diverse Barbie dolls in a multitude of ethnicities to celebrate and reflect the ethnic and cultural differences of girls around the world.”

“We work closely with various partners to develop and distribute Barbie-themed products, such as party supplies, and we will be sharing this valuable feedback with them to start conversations and evaluate the business,” Alan Hilowitz, a Mattel spokesman said in the statement. “We listen carefully to our consumers and take all feedback seriously.”

Considering African-American Barbies have been around since 1968, do you think it's time to see more of her on Barbie merchandise? Let us know what you think.

 

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