2007/01/27

Doll Racism

The story "Would you pay more for a white doll?" in yesterday's Emirates Today is really interesting. It raises so many questions about race and racism, and culture.

You can certainly argue that selling the non-white dolls for less than the white ones suggests that whites are worth more. You could also argue that it shows that non-white children have internalized the racist beliefs if they would rather play with white dolls. The real problem is that you can accuse almost any act of being racist.

For example, you can easily make an argument that having white children play with white dolls is racist. Conversely, you could argue that having white children play with non-white dolls is racist, because it implies that non-whites are playthings for the entertainment of whites - similar to the things that you have heard about Madonna and her recent adoption of an African child.

One fact seems missing from the story: Obviously 94% of the population of the UAE is not white. But in this case that seems irrelevant. What percentage of the population that both a) has children here and so would be in the market for dolls and b) has 279 dirhams to spend on a doll, is white? I have no idea what that would be. It still can't be 94%, but it has to be more than the white percentage overall doesn't it?

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