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Old 01-04-2011, 02:10 PM
 
Location: The "Rock"
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I am a male and I have 2 daugheters who are Half Hawiian and Half Black. And I do not mean their mother is just from Hawaiian, her ethnicity is actually 50% Hawaiian. So my daughters look very polynesian. I ran across the American Girl doll from a business partner who actually gave me a brochure on the new "Hawaiian" Kanani doll. The doll does not look Polynesian at all, Its just a caucasian doll dressed up in a Mapu, a lei, and has a plumeria in her hair. So my wife & I agreed that we would not get this doll for our daughters. So we proceeded to look to see if they had any other dolls that we may want to get our daugher, perhaps a black one...

Well American Girl has black dolls, but they have one historical doll that is a Slave doll named Addy!!! Who in their right mind would buy this doll for their daugher? The doll is dressed up in a plantation dress and has gapped teeth. They also have a native American doll that has a Goat as an accessory! They even had a homeless doll but because of public outrage it was removed.

Are the historical dolls not offensive to anyone? Maybe I do not understand because I'm a man but it is very disturbing to me.

If any ladies can enlighten me on how this stuff is not offensive please do...

 
Old 01-04-2011, 02:27 PM
 
Location: southwestern PA
20,426 posts, read 35,707,564 times
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As you say, they are historical. They are representative of the era.
 
Old 01-04-2011, 02:32 PM
 
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I used to teach a summer school class inspired by the American Girl dolls. I don't find them offensive. The historic doll books come with books that are fairly well done. I'm not sure what the breakdown is for girls who buy each specific dolls, but it was my experience that Addy was popular with black girls, or perhaps their parents. Take a look at the book sometime before you jump to conclusions; you may find that the Addy storyline is not nearly as offensive as you think. She's definitely a strong character and a good role model. Obviously it glosses over some of the worst parts of slavery and the Civil War (because some things are just not age-appropriate; no need to give kids nightmares!) but it definitely isn't sugar-coating things, either, and helps put a human face on a very rough era in American history. In any case, the parents I know who purchase them for their daughters like the history behind them, and think that they offer a much more positive approach to girlhood than other more hyper-sexualized dolls. Do check out the books, though, before making a final decision about whether or not you find her offensive.

I wouldn't buy them myself, as I think they are too expensive. But I have read many of the books (although not recently) and think that overall they have done a good job and aren't pandering to stereotypes. I don't know anything about Kanani, although did just look briefly at the website, and it looks like she's not supposed to be pure Hawaiian, but "multi-ethnic." She's not historic, either, just a modern girl living in Hawaii. Maybe it's time for a historic Hawaiian doll.
 
Old 01-04-2011, 02:43 PM
 
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In my family Kanani would be called a Hapa. (My sister is Hawaiian. Her children are Hawaiian/Eastern European.) The good thing about American Girl dolls is you have a pretty good chance of being able to order a doll that actually looks like the little girl (or boy) you want to give it to.

Their Native American doll is supposed to be Nez Perce. I couldn't find a goat in her accessories but the Nez Perce used goats for food and milk. So that doesn't bother me.

I can't say that any of these dolls offend me. As Pitt Chick said they represent girls in a certain place and time. I concentrate more on just finding dolls, and greeting cards, and baby cribs and a thousand other things that don't have a blonde haired, blue eyed baby as the only choice.
 
Old 01-04-2011, 03:00 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
36,434 posts, read 41,620,437 times
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When my Korean daughter was little she asked for Addy and we were happy to get her. Then for a surprise I ordered the darker skinned asian eyes one to look like her. She loves them to this day. I found a blonde one used but she didn't play with that one too much.

Now we have 2 Vietnames girls and they play with all of them. I made a small fortune knitting and sewing clothes for these dolls. I think they are a wonderful concept. They last forever and have great play value. Yes they are expensive and I think alot of girls are too young when they get them. I think it is wise to wait till they can at least read some of the stories. Great historical lessons. Your half black daughters will be happy to have a black doll to relate to instread of a baby doll with black skin.
 
Old 01-04-2011, 04:06 PM
 
18,856 posts, read 30,447,336 times
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You can create your own doll to look how you want, so I configured this page to be brown hair, with brown eyes, then you choose the hair style, and skin tone. My girls all had these dolls made to look like them. American Girl - My American Girl
 
Old 01-04-2011, 04:29 PM
 
Location: Mid-Atlantic
1,820 posts, read 3,898,580 times
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My daughter's both have American Girl dolls, but not because I bought them, grandma did.
Grandma wants them to be involved in them, but they really have never taken to them.
In a way, I am glad as I feel that the accessories,etc... are too expensive for a doll!

On that note, I don't understand WHY American Girl dolls & their accessories are so unattainable to many little girls & their families who would love to have one. Their prices are not for middle income families, who spends $175 on a bed for their child's doll??
I think that they are trying to portray decent messages to girls, but then their prices speak otherwise.
If they want to teach children lessons, they should start by lowering their prices and not making a statement that clearly says "if you aren't upper middle class, you can't afford to play with me!"....
 
Old 01-04-2011, 04:30 PM
 
Location: WI
2,820 posts, read 3,062,694 times
Reputation: 4815
Quote:
Originally Posted by no kudzu View Post
When my Korean daughter was little she asked for Addy and we were happy to get her. Then for a surprise I ordered the darker skinned asian eyes one to look like her. She loves them to this day. I found a blonde one used but she didn't play with that one too much.

Now we have 2 Vietnames girls and they play with all of them. I made a small fortune knitting and sewing clothes for these dolls. I think they are a wonderful concept. They last forever and have great play value. Yes they are expensive and I think alot of girls are too young when they get them. I think it is wise to wait till they can at least read some of the stories. Great historical lessons. Your half black daughters will be happy to have a black doll to relate to instread of a baby doll with black skin.
That is/was my thought process as well. I think it's a great idea to treat them as dolls with great history and as a teaching point, instead of using them as plain old baby dolls.
 
Old 01-04-2011, 04:41 PM
 
3,647 posts, read 9,307,282 times
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Right on target about the great stories and books that go along with the historical dolls.

And ALL American Girl dolls have a slight gap in their front teeth - even my daughter's caucasian "Mini Me". But I guess if you want to be offended, you can be. I see it as highly offensive though that some don't bother to learn all the facts before becoming outraged and attempting to sway others opinions.

I didn't think they were a big deal until my daughter wanted one. She didn't have any friends that had them at first - she got into the stories through her schools library. So, I took her to the store for her birthday and she had a great time choosing her doll. I had let everyone (in the family) know what she wanted and what we were going to get for her, so she had money to budget and spend.

She chose a couple things from the store, but then chose to buy most of the accessories from Target. The knock off doll is much cheaper made, but the accessories seem to be right on "target" (no pun intended). I found a beautiful doll crib on CL for $25 that she also used her funds to purchase.

She's knows it's a special doll and takes really good care of her. Handing her the money, and having her purchase the doll, was a great lesson for her. I'm glad that instead of just telling her no, we let her decide. I think she values the doll all the more for it.

If you don't think the doll and the store are 'worth it', then don't buy it. It really IS that simple.

BTW: My husband was born in Hawaii. That makes him a native Hawaiian. I think the OP meant that his wife's ethinicity is Polynesian, not '50% Hawaiian'. Very offensive OP, IMO.
 
Old 01-04-2011, 04:53 PM
 
669 posts, read 1,338,454 times
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I just looked at their website since I never heard of them before. They all have the same exact teeth. The skin color is darker on the Hawaiin doll than the others. If they had exaggerated her features more, then people would complain that they were stereotyping Hawaiin women.
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