Can you imagine your child playing with an African-American toy wearing tattered clothing and a neck shackle? Sacremento mom Ida Lockett couldn’t either, according to CBS News.
Lockett, the mother of a 5-year-old boy who received a Playmobil toy pirate ship as a birthday gift from his aunt, was absolutely outraged when she read the accompanying instructions.
“It told my son to put a slave cuff around the Black character’s neck, and then to play with the toy,” she told CBS. “It’s definitely racist.”
Playmobil, a line of toys produced by Brandstätter Stiftung & Co.KG and headquartered in Germany, created a toy set that, according to them, is meant to portray life on a 17th century pirate ship.
“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,” Playmobil said in a statement to The Washington Post.
“The figure was meant to represent a pirate who was a former slave in a historical context. It was not our intention to offend anyone in any way.”
However, parent Ida Lockett begs to differ. She took to Facebook in numerous posts to express her dismay.
In a statement to the Playmobil USA Facebook page, Aimee Norman, the young boy’s aunt wrote, “WOW. Would it be too much to ask for you to just create a regular old black pirate? People of African descent have contributed to mankind in a myriad of ways that existed outside of the disgusting institution of the slave trade. Selling children’s toys that are suggestive of slavery in play is obscene, even moreso given the marked absence of diversity in your entire toy line.”
Sacramento NAACP President Stephen Webb is also appalled.
“This is deplorable,” he told CBS Sacramento. “This cannot be accepted, and it needs to be pulled off the shelf.”
Lockett is now taking action against Toys R Us, who is selling the product for $62.99.
“I’m going to ask to speak to the manager and ask them not to support this particular product,” she said.