A racist pirate toy set sold by Playmobil has sparked controversy among consumers, after concerned parents complained the product makes a mockery of slavery.
Ida Lockett, of Sacramento, California expressed how disgruntled she became when she paid closer attention to one of the birthday gifts her 5-year old son had received. Although initially the toy had caused excitement and joy, those feelings quickly faded away.
While Ida was trying to help her kid assemble the building puzzle, she noticed that the instruction manual specifically encouraged children to place a “play shackle” around one of the characters’ neck. These offensive guidelines were even illustrated in a picture showing kids exactly how the chains should be wrapped around the throat.
Following this discovery, the boy’s family turned to Playmobil’s Facebook page to express how mortified they had been after buying such a politically incorrect toy.
“You cannot have this specific accessory and call it anything else. The fact that you can Google it, look it up, say what it is – it’s a slave collar”, declared Lockett while being interviewed by CBS Sacramento.
The doll that has outraged public opinion bears a striking resemble to an African-American slave kept captive by means of a neck shackle. The dark-skinned figurine looks dishevelled, with its shredded brown pants and its yellow shirt torn to pieces.
Moreover, the toy character is shoe-less, and it appears that its accompanying ship actually features a prison cell at the bottom. Therefore, it’s not such a preposterous claim to suggest that the puzzle set does indeed make light of the notion of slavery.
German manufacturer Playmobil has reacted to these allegations by insisting that Pirate Ship Set 5135 is simply an accurate portrayal of a 17th century pirate vessel. In fact, according to company representatives, upon closer inspection, the pirate doll reveals itself to be just a member of the crew.
“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”, explained the controversial toy maker.
Nevertheless, the Lockett family insists that encouraging children to put metal cuffs around black characters’ throats is nothing short of offensive. As they explain, turning slavery into a child’s game is unacceptable, especially given the “marked absence of diversity” encountered throughout the manufacturer’s toy line.
The pirate set had been bought from Toys R Us by the child’s aunt. Normally, the toy comes with price tag of $89.99, but it had been on sale at the store for $62.99.
Toys R US has yet to issue a commend regarding the incident, while Stephen Webb, Sacramento President of NAACP, is urging for retailers to stop selling this product immediately.
Image Source: Playmobil