LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — A woman said dolls that some could consider racist were being sold at a Lansing mall.
Hilary Waddles said she spotted the dolls inside “Sleeping Tiger Imports” and didn’t say anything to the store clerk when she saw them because at first, she thought she may have been overreacting.
However, after showing a picture of the dolls to her friends and family she no longer felt that way.
“They were like oh that’s terrible, that’s appalling,” Waddles said.
She wrote a post on Facebook to show people what she saw.
“Just to educate people that yes, this kind of imagery is offensive and it has a long history of being used to mock and demean black people. It’s very recognizable it looks like blackface, like an old minstrel show figure,” she said.
Tim Szubinski is the head of Sleeping Tiger Imports and said he doesn’t understand what the issue is with the dolls.
“I buy stuff from Africa, same kind of intent, you know, they do art work for me, if there’s a woman carrying a pot on her head somebody’s gonna take that as a racist or prejudicial thing, ya know that’s the way they live their lives,” he said.
Szubinski said the dolls were taken down and, “You’re taking one person’s view and allowing her to dictate this to other people. That’s just the reality of it.”
He said the dolls are handcrafted pieces of art from a small village in Thailand and that there was no ill intent.
“I believe that most people if they know this kind of thing is offensive and hurtful and has this long history of hurtfulness I think most people are decent and want to do the right thing,” Waddles said.