Black rag dolls sold as “Feel Better Dolls” by a store called “One Dollar Zone” in Bayonne, New Jersey, drew attention as an offensive rag doll representation of a person of black color. Even more unacceptable is the fact that the “Feel Better Dolls” can serve as racist effigies.
Each doll comes with a direction for use that specifically instructs a buyer to use it whenever things do not go well. It suggested that instead of simply hitting the wall with one’s bare hand, whack the “Feel Better Doll” as alternative .
“…grabbing it firmly by the legs and find a wall on which to slam the doll, and as you whack it, don’t forget to yell, “I Feel Good! I Feel Good!”
The instructions were sewn on the stomach of each doll that was made from black cloth, whilst adorned with black, red, yellow and green yarn as hair, and a white smile stitched to its face.
Not a few in Bayonne found the black rag doll offensive and said so by posting their disapproval in their Facebook accounts. The FB posts reached the attention of Bayonne mayor Jimmy Davis and NJ State Assemblywoman Angela McKnight (Democrat), who immediately ordered the removal of the offensive dollar store merchandise from the shelves.
The New Jersey Assemblywoman said the doll, which she described as an inappropriate likeness of a black person was “disturbing on so many levels.” The Bayonne dollar store removed them from the shelves only when Ms. McKnight arrived and asked the manager to immediately take them off the shelves.
In a press release, the NJ Assemblywoman stated that she will not tolerate racism because it has no place in the world, especially not in her district. She further said that she cringed when she saw the doll for herself, truly disheartened by the thought of a black child being beaten for “pure pleasure,” by another child or by an adult.
Ms. McKnight added that even if the dolls came in white color, it is still not appropriate to sell them.
“To sell or have a doll that teaches children it is to OK to hit another child just to feel good is a sick concept. That is regardless of race to which that child belongs.”
The One Dollar Zone Explains Where and How the Feel Better Dolls were Acquired
The offensive dolls were manufactured by a company located in Verplanck, New York called Harvey Hutter Co. It turned out that it is already out of business, with its website now defunct and phones already disconnected.
The One Dollar Zone store, on the other hand, is an independent family-owned chain of stores with a headquarter in Paterson, New Jersey. The chain store’s president, Ricky Shah, expressed his apologies in a statement given to NBC Boston. He also explained that the controversial dolls were purchased as part of a 35,000-piece shipment of closeout items.
Nick Shah, who introduced himself as one of several buyers for the One Dollar Zone company, said that they did not realize the “Feel Better Dolls,” were included in the bulk, close-out purchase.
A close out order is usually known as a going-out-of-business sale and comes as part of a company’s liquidation process.