|Screenshot of Karen and her daughter|
On April 10th, Brathwaite received her answer from Mattel. Nuh-uh. Braithwaite says she received a conference call from Mattel’s VP of Communications and VP of Consumer products to set the record straight. The VPs allegedly said that ethnic party supplies had been rejected by the licensees who carry the products on the basis that they would not sell well. They added that focus groups and market research told a similar tale -— and their hands were tied. To help Braithwaite resolve her problem, the VPs noted that their biggest competitors in the party supply market are Dora the Explorer and the Disney Princesses, which are ethnically diverse, and they also cited Spongebob and Hello Kitty, characters who are ethnically neutral.
But later on, Mattel spokesman Alan Hilowitz said that the company’s claims had been mischaracterized. In an e-mail to the New York Observer, he noted that they are looking at how they can work with their partners to redesign a new line as the current line of Barbie party products has been discontinued. He added that any change would not be instantaneous, as it can take a minimum of 18 months from the time new products are developed until the time they appear on store shelves.
In the final analysis, Karen Braithwaite did resort to one of those "labor intensive" DIY solutions. She used a brown marker to color in the faces of Barbies on the party favors she purchased. But she doesn't plan to take no for an answer, and said she will continue to pursue her crusade until it produces the "necessary" results.
Comments to the two media sources cited reflect the differing readership demographics. While the more-diverse Eastern readership of the Observer tends to support Karen Braithwaite, the less-diverse Intermountain readership of KSL are critical of her. Here's the results of an unscientific KSL poll currently in progress (on the story page):
Mattel is also under criticism separately for the newly-released Dolls Of The World collection, with critics claiming they promote stereotypes even though it represents the way women really dress in various parts of the world. This is what multiculturalism has brought us -- nothing but endless bitching and whining. Harold Covington's mantra applies here -- “If white people had a country of our own, this wouldn’t be happening.”