11 Insanely Cringeworthy And Racist Attempts To Diversify Toy Lines
Toy companies are always looking to diversify their inventory, because it helps fatten up the bottom line. That usually just means cheap re-paints or color shifts, but sometimes they let the "creatives" run wild and we end up with some truly racist toys. Sure, in a few cases it might just be simple oversight, but in others the overt stereotype shines through loud and clear.
And while racist action figures might have passed muster a few decades ago – even though they shouldn't have – surely we have moved past those dark times, right? Not so. There are still plenty of toys that are racist popping up on shelves today, and it's a solid bet the trend isn't going away anytime soon. Sure some of these examples might be accidental racism, but come on, y'all. We should be better than this.
- 1703 VOTES
Wildly Racist Costume Make-UpPhoto: imgur/booinglasgow
If you've ever dreamed of being a racist stereotype for Halloween, you're in luck. Also, you're terrible, and you need to get your priorities straight. If the above pictures of young white girls on the packaging didn't tip you off, these makeup sets are also intended for racist children, too.
As if the afro on the African-American packaging isn't bad enough, they doubled down on the Native American stereotypes by throwing in a bunch of war paint. They even called it an "Indian Disguise." Way to offend two different groups of people with one disgustingly broad brush stroke.
- 2675 VOTES
Princess Tiana Dipping CandyPhoto: weknowmemes
Disney has a bit of a... horrendously terrible track record when it comes to racist cartoons, so it's not really surprising when prejudice seeps into their products as well. They pulled a Moana Halloween costume in 2016, but this snafu takes the cake.
As you can see in the above image, the white princess is hawking vanilla flavored dip sticks, of course, and Princess Tiana is shilling the watermelon flavoring. You'd like to believe it was an accident, but there are no less than 10,000 other flavors they could've picked here. No one associates vanilla with watermelon! Even chocolate, which would have also been pretty bad, would have at least made a kind of sense.
- 3591 VOTES
Playmobil Pirate Ship Set With Shackled SlavePhoto: Playmobil
Playmobil is a German toy manufacturer that set up shop in the '70s, back when there was still an East and West Germany. In 2015, they released a popular Pirate Ship playset that caused quite a stir. The reason for the outrage? The set included a slave.
And just to underline the point, the instructions even demonstrated how to properly apply the neck shackle to your very own pirate ship slave. The company responded thusly: "If you look at the box, you can see that the pirate figure is clearly a crew member on the pirate ship and not a captive." Really? So the shackle is just a fashionable choker? Apparently, Playmobil thinks pirate crews have the same fashion sense as middle school girls shopping at Hot Topic in the early 2000s.
- 4614 VOTES
Lego Indian Canoe PlaysetPhoto: Lego
Who doesn't love Legos? And who doesn't love terribly racist Lego playsets? Oh, right. Decent people.
While they're still getting themselves in trouble in modern times with insensitive toy design, Lego really went for blatant racism with this Native American (which of course they called "Indian") canoe set. Nothing says "Native American" like beet red, shirtless action figures rowing a damn boat. They still offer a similar set today (with a name change), but this way more offensive collection – which also came with a totem pole and a bunch of teepees – was all the rage in the 1980s.
- 5632 VOTES
Oreo Fun BarbiePhoto: Mattel
Mattel partnered up with Nabisco and Oreo to release a special edition Barbie, intended to be gobbled up by collectors and ignored by the general populace. While the doll looks harmless enough, the brilliant creative team at Mattel overlooked one small detail: "Oreo" is a derogatory term given to African-Americans who "act white," because they're "black" on the outside and "white" on the inside. This probably wouldn't have happened if Mattel had hired literally one Black toy designer, or had any person of color involved in the decision making.
- 6486 VOTES
Bandito Bashin' MikeyPhoto: ebay/thekaptainmyke
Playmates cashed in on the immense popularity of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with a gaggle of useless and ridiculous toys. After all of their stupid and ludicrous ideas were spent, Playmates leaned hard into racial stereotypes, giving us the Wacky Wild West line of action figures. These racist monstrosities included Michelangelo dressed up in a sombrero, sporting a little black mustache and brandishing pistols. Oh, and he came with a cactus, too. As if racist Mexican Mikey wasn't enough, they really sealed the deal with Indian Chief Leo.