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A dollar store chain was selling black dolls for people to beat up | Brand New Ugly

“Economic anxiety” has struck again, this time in New Jersey, where until recently stores in the One Dollar Zone chain were selling dolls designed to be mistreated by (presumably) white people whose days weren’t going well.

Did I mention that the dolls look like century-old stereotypes of black people? Because holy fucking crap:

And here are the “instructions,” as printed out in tags on the doll’s torso.

Unfortunately — at least for the stores and the manufacturers and I guess really, really racist white people — these “Feel Better” dolls have not become the feelgood hits of the summer: They’ve been pulled from the shelves after state Assemblywoman Angela V. McKnight pointed out how very, very racist they were.

The One Dollar Zone has apologized for the dolls, saying they bought them as part of a large consignment of items and didn’t vet them properly. As for the company that made them, CNN notes,
its “phone numbers have been disconnected and its website no longer exists.”

I guess it’s only a matter of time until these dolls become a cause celeb for alt-right “free speechers” and a collectors item for racists.

H/T — CNN

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Big Titty Demon
Big Titty Demon
2 years ago

@C4twoman

And thus continues another chapter brought to you by the same people opining female socialization(which is assumed incorrectly to be universal) puts women at risk arguing against doing anything to counter act or break out of that mentality.

What are you on about? I mean I have suspicions given your style of rhetoric, but please do clarify.

But it does not follow all physically vigorous exercise, combat sport and activity as stress relief is unhealthy.

Who said it was? Lainy said that she went running for stress relief, did you not read? Or does it not count as physically vigorous exercise or activity? If not, why not? What about dance, is that vigorous? Are you only really talking about the punchy forms of vigorous exercise? If so, we should analyse the thought “I am going to do this combat sport because it relieves stress because _____” and the thought “I am going to smash this human effigy with an innocent child-like expression into the wall for stress relief.”

If you fill in the blank with “I like hitting people and it makes me feel powerful and in control” then yes. That is unhealthy. It is the same motivation behind the human-effigy-smashing, one step further into real people. If you fill it in with the slightly different “I like being skilled enough to defend myself from hitting and it makes me feel powerful and in control” or “I like the discipline and control I can impose on myself via this combat sport” or any of a thousand other reasons, you’re fine and no one will have a problem with you.

The difference in motivation is why there was an interview before people could take some combat sports at my university, to weed out the assholes who would not refrain from intentionally hurting people during training.

Hippodameia
Hippodameia
2 years ago

C4twoman
July 28, 2019 at 2:28 pm

But it does not follow all physically vigorous exercise, combat sport and activity as stress relief is unhealthy.

Who exactly said it was?

Helix
July 28, 2019 at 1:40 am

Have you heard of meditation, or exercise, or spending time with friends?

Lainy
July 28, 2019 at 12:08 pm

I often find going for a run helps. If I have the space I put on a playlist of music from my favorite ballet and do a freeform dance with it. Sometimes I put on coming music and do stretches until the anger goes away.

Victorious Parasol
Victorious Parasol
2 years ago

Hippodameia
Hippodameia
2 years ago

Missed the edit window, but ninja’d by Big Titty Demon.

Rabid Rabbit
Rabid Rabbit
2 years ago

@C4twoman:

There’s a difference between beating up a doll and boxing, though. Boxing has rules and so forth. This is more akin to someone who can’t practice boxing unless there’s a photo of someone he hates painted on the boxing bag.

@Buttercup Q. Skullpants:

Reminds me of the story of the substitute teacher who decided to show the elementary class they were taking care of a movie. It wasn’t one they’d ever watched, but hey, it was an animated film with fluffy bunnies, that would be fine, wouldn’t it?

Fortunately, the subtitute stepped out of the class and mentioned this to another teacher, who froze, asked for the title, and managed to sprint to the classroom and turn off the video player before they got too far into Watership Down.

Big Titty Demon
Big Titty Demon
2 years ago

@Lainy

Sometimes I put on coming music and do stretches until the anger goes away.

Hmmm… yes, I believe many people find that stress-relieving. ?

Redsilkphoenix: Jetpack Vixen, Intergalactic Meanie
Redsilkphoenix: Jetpack Vixen, Intergalactic Meanie
2 years ago

Uhm, stress balls are still a thing, aren’t they? You know, those soft squishy nerf-ball things that come in any color and design a person might desire. They’ve been around for years at least, and they’re still being made. No need to beat up on a doll or anything.

And I have a hazy memory of some comic strip character from ~1940’s whose whole purpose in life was to absorb the abuse of humans (because that’s what they fed on?). I want to say they were the shmoos, but a fast look at Wikipedia says they weren’t it. Maybe it was in the Popeye strip instead…?

Redsilkphoenix: Jetpack Vixen, Intergalactic Meanie
Redsilkphoenix: Jetpack Vixen, Intergalactic Meanie
2 years ago

Uhm, stress balls are still a thing, aren’t they? You know, those soft squishy nerf-ball things that come in any color and design a person might desire. They’ve been around for years at least, and they’re still being made. No need to beat up on a doll or anything.

And I have a hazy memory of some comic strip character from ~1940’s whose whole purpose in life was to absorb the abuse of humans (because that’s what they fed on?). I want to say they were the shmoos, but a fast look at Wikipedia says they weren’t it. Maybe it was in the Popeye strip instead…?

Snowberry
Snowberry
2 years ago

Things which I’ve found work as stress relief:

1. Crying
2. Sex (including masturbation, though I find it much more potent with another person’s touch)
3. Crying during sex
4. Get off the damn internet, exercise a bit, imagine a brighter future, and completely fail to care that my idea of a “brighter future” is some people’s idea of a morally depraved hellscape.

I’m aware that #2 and #3 are difficult for a lot of people because stress ironically tends to kill one’s sex drive, but personally I find that strongly associating orgasm with distraction/stress release tends to make the sex-drive-killing effect not particularly matter, if that makes sense.

Hippodameia
Hippodameia
2 years ago

@ Rabid Rabbit,

A sub did that in one of my classes, but it was an animated version of Animal Farm. (I’m pretty sure that version changed the ending, though.)

Vucodlak
Vucodlak
2 years ago

@ Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation

OK; what would you recommend instead, then?

Writing about whatever pissed me off helps me, as does listening to some good music. Those are nice because I can do both together. Focusing on the craft of writing well and with humor (by my standards, anyway) is especially helpful.

Gardening works, and so does carpentry. I don’t use power tools for the former, and I rarely use any for the latter, so it’s pretty physical work.

This is one I hesitate to bring up because it can become about violence if you focus on the wrong things –
Working the heavy bag helps me. However, and this is key, I do not think about who- or whatever pissed me off when I’m doing it. Instead, I focus on my form, stance, and movements. I’m not a boxer, so I’m probably doing a great many things wrong, but even focusing on doing what I do know properly takes a great deal of concentration.

It’s basically dancing, which would probably work just as well, but there wasn’t much dancing in my youth. I just put on some music, try to move well, and wear myself out. It’s a good workout, and I generally feel better afterward. Just remember to wrap your wrists properly and protect your knuckles!

Nikki the Bluth Wannabe
Nikki the Bluth Wannabe
2 years ago

@K.
Exactly! My first reaction when the notification for this article popped up in my email was “this is just a racist knockoff of Dammit Dolls, minus the swearing!”

lkeke35
lkeke35
2 years ago

I think what’s getting lost somewhat in the discussion here is that these dolls are black, and I don’t think I need to tell you guys about the long history of violence, ( torture, rape, genocide, lynching), against black people in the US, to get y’all to understand that not only are the dolls racist, but it’s an especially insidious, and vile, form of racism that normalizes the idea of harming a black body for entertainment.

America already has normalized, through decades of pop culture, and news media, not just the idea that all blacks are criminals, but also the idea that all criminals deserve to be punished, or physically harmed. The outcome of these two philosophies playing on each other explains how people are always capable of making excuses for police brutality against black and brown people, no matter what the actual circumstances might be.

America also has been normalizing the idea of black pain and trauma as entertainment at least since the time of the greatest amount of lynching, 1960s Mississippi. In movies, tv shows, and on social media, black pain and trauma is on display for everyone to see. As far as I’m concerned there’s a significant contingent of white people in this country who take an especially nasty glee in viewing our brutalized and dying bodies. So using a doll as a reference for what they really want isn’t too far away from any of this. ( And then there’s the compounded trauma to black people of viewing these images over and over.)

Robert
Robert
2 years ago

Redsilkphoenix, you might be thinking of kigmies. Also from “Li’l Abner” but serving a different narrative purpose.

lkeke35
lkeke35
2 years ago

Look on the website: The Root, which covers this particular story, for the actual names of these dolls which used to be called Golliwogs, or
Pickaninnys.

Especially read the comment section.

tim gueguen
2 years ago

The article, and the comments, reminded me of a Judge Dredd story. In an effort to cash in on the desire to reduce violence in Mega City One a company opens the Aggro Dome, where citizens can work off their violent feelings by such activities as by beating up a robot. Being a Judge Dredd story violence breaks out after Dredd tries to arrest a criminal in the Dome, and the customers attack each other and the staff.

Kevin
Kevin
2 years ago

@ Rabid Rabbit

And yet my primary school class around the age of ten/eleven had to read Watership Down and write essays on it for English. That was the mid (ish) 1970’s when the book was fairly recent though. How times change.

C.A.Collins
C.A.Collins
2 years ago

I have always enjoyed hitting things: pillows, heavy bag, light bag, pell, armored opponents, occasionally walls.
I still think the humanized beat it doll is a bad idea, even outside of the color issue. Linking a mantra of “I feel good!” with pounding on something sets up a bad connection.

Hambeast
Hambeast
2 years ago

From childhood, I’ve never liked boxing. The idea of a sport in which the object of the game is to knock out your opponent was something I couldn’t get my head around and seemed like an anachronistic vestige from another time.

I have never watched Raging Bull or any Rocky film; I can’t take the boxing scenes.

Buttercup Q. Skullpants
Buttercup Q. Skullpants
2 years ago

@lkeke35 – You’re right, it isn’t just the violence, it’s the entire history of racism and genocide that these dolls conjure up. I’d guess the intended customer base for these dolls are white racists who grew up with the idea that it’s fine to scapegoat and brutalize black bodies for entertainment, and who are angry that it’s becoming less socially acceptable. It’s similar to the way would-be domestic abusers are now turning to sex dolls as outlets for their misogyny. The argument that it’s better to abuse dolls than live human beings leaves unquestioned the assumption that violence is a (largely white, largely male) biological need and abusers gotta abuse.

Of course the doll makers are focused 100% on the “needs” of the white racists that they’re trying to make a buck off of. They probably even think they’re doing a public service by providing stress relief. They haven’t spared a moment’s thought for how black people might feel about seeing an effigy of themselves with a tag attached urging people to do violence to it.

I’m beyond tired of the volcano metaphor for violent racists and incels, where their abusive urges have to have safe outlets, otherwise their rage will erupt out somewhere else. They’re not volcanoes. They’re extortionists whose well-being selfishly comes at the expense of others’ bodily integrity.

Lumipuna (nee Arctic Ape)
Lumipuna (nee Arctic Ape)
2 years ago

It isn’t just the violence, it’s the entire history of racism and genocide that these dolls conjure up.

As a white person not from the US, I can hardly even begin to understand the gravity of this issue. However, I’m willing to take at least some of it on the word of people known to be victims of historic and ongoing racism. After all, it’s not like scrapping these dolls is any significant sacrifice to anyone.

Of course the doll makers are focused 100% on the “needs” of the white racists that they’re trying to make a buck off of. They probably even think they’re doing a public service by providing stress relief. They haven’t spared a moment’s thought for how black people might feel about seeing an effigy of themselves with a tag attached urging people to do violence to it.

Somehow I suspect that if you asked the company making these dolls (you can see their name in the top photo), or random racists on social media (the kind who’d jump to defend this), they’d tell you it’s meant to be a “joke” rather than any serious stress relief, and therefore supposedly insignificant.

You know, like designation of sex toys as “novelties” is a classic way to get around sale bans. Or how far-right political discourse often to masquerade as either “harmless shit-talking” or “ironic racism”. (Although in this case, they’d likely try to argue that the racial connection in these dolls is pure pareidolia)

Of course, by making this argument, the racists effectively concede that perpetuating this kind of racism is relatively insignificant to THEM. Some people do have a truly harmful sense of humor, no matter how honest, and those people don’t deserve to be entertained.

Skye
Skye
2 years ago

This is 2019

It’s like the Civil Rights movement never happened (especially given recent Supreme Court decisions).

I can’t get over this

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