Wal-Mart Black Barbie Price Cut Sparks Uproar

Sends harmful message, say activists
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Mar 10, 2010 4:05 AM CST
Updated Mar 10, 2010 5:34 AM CST
Ballerina Teresa Barbie is selling for $2 less than her white version at Wal-Mart stores.   (Amazon.com)
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(Newser) – Wal-Mart has dropped the price of a black Barbie doll in a move that's raising a ruckus. "Both are great dolls," carefully emphasized a Wal-Mart spokeswoman. But the price was cut $2 for a black Ballerina Teresa Barbie from the $5.93 for the white version because the black Barbies weren't selling. "Pricing like items differently is a part of inventory management in retailing," said the spokeswoman. But a Harlem activist warned that such a strategy in this case "can have collateral damage."

The "implication of lowering the price is that it's devaluing the black doll," said Thelma Dye, the executive director of the Northside Center for Child Development. Wal-Mart could have decided "that it's important we don't send a message that we value blackness less than whiteness," said Los Angeles sociology professor Lisa Wade. Ironically, Wade pointed out, the black dolls may not be selling as well because white parents are more reluctant than blacks to buy dolls of a different race for their children.

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