Last week, Asheria Brown’s eldest daughter saw a white Kid Connection doll set at Walmart. Brown, who lives in Florence Kentucky, “wants to teach her three children their African American heritage…’went home and went to Walmart.com and found one set in white and one in Black.’ But then her jaw dropped when she saw the price of the Black doll set. ‘They were 14 dollars and 97 cents more expensive than the white babies,’” WCPO reports.  

Unfortunately, this isn’t a singular occurrence— a 2021 Gallup poll found that 60% of Black adults perceive that Black people in their communities were treated less fairly than White people “in stores downtown or in the shopping mall.” The Guardian wrote an exposé on “shopping while black,” noting that “[r]etail racism is…endemic.” Indeed, a retailer who called 911 ultimately led to George Floyd’s  brutal murder at the hands of the police. 

Furthermore, The Education Trust described the phenomenon that “Black people must work harder and pay more to receive the same benefits and opportunity as their White or non-Black peers” as the “Black tax.” Dr. Sabrina Thompson, a professor at Duke University and doll historian, wasn’t surprised by these price differentials stating “‘The problem…[is] when we look at these discrepancies in pricing is that toy manufacturers do not produce Black dolls in proportion to the number of people in the human population.’” 

When contacted about this issue, Walmart released a statement, apologizing for the difference in prices for the two doll sets, which has since been adjusted.  

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“The price difference in the two items was the result of price changes made systemically. We lowered the price on a select group of toys, including only one of these dolls, to help drive sales. Unfortunately, we overlooked the impact these changes would have on similar items whose price did not change. This was an unintentional error on our part and we sincerely apologize to anyone it may have offended. 

Walmart is a firm believer of diversity and inclusion. As a company, we are investing resources and developing strategies to advance equity for all within our walls and society.” 

While this one instance has been rectified; however, the founder of the National Black Doll Museum of History and Culture, Deb Britt says for this trend to truly end for good, “‘People have to go like this woman did, and address it with store managers, to make sure this doesn’t happen again.’”  

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