Your Thoughts on the "American Girl" Slave Doll

A reader sent me this link for Addy, an American Girl doll. Addy is a slave and like all American Girl dolls she has a backstory. Addy also has her own line of stories and toys including this. The reader is upset about Addy, I'm torn on this one. Meet Addy's family. Meet Addy's friends.

They also have a Mexican American historical doll and a Native American historical doll

The Lucious Librarian wonders if she is just sensitive, or if the doll is racist. She and Jovan Miles have points about the unseemliness of accessorizing slavery

Jovan wants to stop production. I actually think it would be a great thing to teach children about slavery.

I used to imagine I was Harriet Tubman when I was little and I had a doll that looked like Addy, her name was Rachel and her plastic eyes kept falling off We didn’t’ have toy recalls back in the day. All we had was something called commonsense that said don’t swallow the eye. I also ripped a hole in Rachel's neck and stuffed all my birthday and Christmas money inside her and sewed her back up.

I admired Harriet Tubman and my Mama used to purchase these books called the Value Books and she was one of the biographies as well as Jackie Robinson. I always saw her as brave and adventurous and resourceful. Did I fully comprehend the horror of what she probably went through at 8 or 9? No, nor should I have. As I got older and continued to learn, I figured that out.

I've never been embarrassed or ashamed of my heritage as a descendant of slaves and all of the things that are part of our culture that are a result of the resourcefulness of our ancestors. So when I see something like Gone With the Wind, I see Mammy as being wise and industrious while the other characters act a plum natural fool.

This is part of American history and if you are going to place a doll several hundred years ago in this country chances were that if she was a young Black girl, she would have been a slave.

So Jovan, is there any way that the doll in your mind can be salvaged? Either by killing some of the accessories or altering the back story. I actually thought it was poignant that Addy had to leave her baby sister behind because her cries would give the family away and the fact that Addy's older siblings were sold down river and her family escapes to avoid the same fate and try to keep the family intact. I think it conveyed the fact that as a matter of course families were ripped to shreds during slavery and the decision to head North was a tough perilous one.

So is the option to have no African American historical dolls at all or try to salvage Addy in some way? I might add that the stories about the family and friends probably teach more Black history than a certain television network ever did.

When I first learned about Sojourner Truth, the story didn't include that she was the victim of violent sexual abuse at the hands of her masters, that didn't make her any less heroic in my young mind. I used to play with toy soldiers long before I knew the horrors of war.

I can see where Jovan and the Luscious Librarian are coming from though. I would interested in knowing what part of the country they both grew up in to see if the geographic differences might affect how we view Addy. If I had a daughter, I'd probably buy Addy. Just like My mama purchased all those stories about John Henry and Harriet Tubman.

Also, if y'all know of a Black-owned company that produces historical dolls with a back story, send me a link. I would be happy to post it. Part of what makes this unseemly is the idea that someone else is telling the story.

Weigh in Folks!

P.S. If I am offended by anything, its those dayum prices! WTH My doll Rachel probably cost $7. I can't buy a handkerchief for Addy for that much.

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WAOD Guide to Demonstrating in Style.....

This is what was on the front of one of the demonstrator's t-shirts. She's actually my water aerobics instructor, Beverly

1. Be On Time- It is really poor form when your protesters get there before you do even if its by a couple of minutes.
1a. DO NOT SCHEDULE YOUR PROTEST TO BEGIN DURING RUSH HOUR. I had to go from one side of town to the other and through the UT campus thus alerting me that the college kiddies are back in town, all 50,000 of them and their parents apparently, as it took me 30 minutes just to get through campus.

2. Don't use oversized sharpies without proper ventilation. Markers can kill.

3. If you failed handwriting in the third grade, you might want someone else to write your signs.
(I did not use the D.L. is the Devil sign, that was a drafting mistake I decided to have fun with. I also was not able to use my D.L. is an Attention Ho' sign. Miss Pauline thought that it was inappropriate so I relented and strapped on the Delusional sign instead. )
4.Try not to use polysyllabic words on your placard, it makes people have to think too hard. What is clever to you might not be absorbed at 30 mph.

5.You can really use duct tape for anything

6. Don't stand in fire ants.

7.Do not park where you car can get towed. It is so not fun trying to outrun a tow truck driver. This is a picture I took after I had to run and move my car.

8.Do call the special events office at the police department and ask them to give you a chat on "How to exercise your First Amendment rights without going to the clank."

9. DO wear shades if it is sunny.

10. Don't plan to sit in a recliner and chill. It was only two hours why did I pack as if I was going to the Alaskan back country for three days.

11. Do carry anti foolishness devices, in my case a whistle ( again, a remnant from the Alaskan back country) and a fork. If someone body pulled out a fork on you, you would leave them the hell alone too. A knife people expect, a fork, not so much.

12. Do not throw your belongings on the ground so that bees and crawl inside and then crawl out when you get home.

13. Sometimes smiling and saying nothing makes people curious enough to come over and have a conversation with you.

14. The protest is all about the people you are doing it with. Forgive those who got sick, suddenly got vacation plans, sprained an ankle or just "don't do that." You don't need a multitude.

15. Enjoy the fact that you get to do this kind of thing without the guv'ment carting you off never to be seen again. Do it often.

16. DO YOU! If you are not a bullhorn person, then don't try to be. If you like to wave and smile at people, then do it. Out of sheer nosiness and because we were laughing and having a good time, people came up to us and wanted the full story.

16a. If a sister who has marched in the hot Texas heat with you for two hours has a potential suitor who uses your $3.00 placard as a cocktail napkin, let her take it home as a souvenir of her bravery. Girl you better call that man! I am almost certain he is not a serial killer, but again I've been wrong before.

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Dunbar Village Prayer Vigil - WAOD Readers Making the News- Mayor Lois Frankel of WPB is Demented and Dumb ( yes, I said D-U-M-B)

News about the prayer vigil at Dunbar Village Saturday morning. It was a diverse group of folks out there.
Read about the laziness and ridiculousness that is the governmental leadership in Florida and West Palm Beach.

Two days after the shooting in Newark, Mayor Booker announced a $50,000 reward for information. It grew to $150,000. Within a week, three suspects were arrested, and a warrant issued for a fourth.

In West Palm Beach, two months after the Dunbar assault, six of 10 suspects remain on the loose, and the fourth suspect wasn't charged until Thursday.

It gets WORSE folks. Seriously this is ridiculous.

On Tuesday, New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine visited the surviving victim and the elementary school wall where the four were shot.

Will the city help the housing authority with $100,000 to hire a consultant and apply by November for a federal grant of more than $20''million to overhaul Dunbar? Mayor Frankel's open to "discussing" it, but, she said, it's "a lot of money. my earlier interaction with this woman. She ain't all there.

Now in Texas, the Governor has an entire office of people that do nothing BUT help people and organizations apply for federal grants. The train you, they will even review the application for you. An entire office dedicated to bringing the federal income tax dollar of Texans back to the state in the form of grants and this Idiot in West Palm beach can't do the math and figure out that $100,000 ( I doubt it would cost that much and somebody would probably donate their time and do it for free if this dimwit made a public plea.) Hell maybe the people at MY Governor's office would do it since Florida apparently has some issues.

E-mail the Governor of Florida and let him know ( it is a shame he doesn't seem to know this already) that he has a Mayor that is so incompetent that anarchy is reigning in a section of Florida and the Mayor is doing absolutely NOTHING to protect Florida residents in her jurisdiction therefore the State of Florida MUST INTERVENE. Tell him that within a two week span two Black woman were set upon by two different packs of teenage boys. Tell him about the 717 police calls from one housing project. Tell him about the 15 murders in a place with only 334 residents. Tell him that this is happening on his watch and Lois Frankel is doing absolutely nothing about it. I'm drafting my letter now. CC a copy of you e-mail here for a local reporter that talks with the Gov. once a month. Read my letter to the Governor at our overflow site (y'all know I get long winded over here)

Included in the article is a reference to Symphony's YouTube clip. Girl, keep plugging away, you are having an impact. Symphony is going to be the third guest contributor joining the WAOD team. Her first post should be sometime this week... as the article indicates, she's been busy launching a multimedia assault on the League of the Immorally Indifferent.

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Demonstrating and Matchmaking.... All in a Day's Work ( the unannotated version)

Fear is a thief that robs us of our destiny. Joyce Meyer

I can't tell y'all how much I was dreading having to go out there and stand on the side of the road to exercise my First Amendment right to peaceably assemble and express myself. I really was just really dreading and would have rather have had a root canal without anesthesia and I cursed this blog and my big mouth a thousand times over the past week, but months before I started this blog, pissed off with all aspects of my mediocre life, I made a vow to live an amazing life, including living fearlessly. I definitely overcame my fears, I just said I don't care if I have to sit out there by myself, I am doing this if for nothing other than to conquer the fear of the unknown, but I took my trusty whistle and a Bar-B-Q fork as anti-foolishness devices just in case. I drove across town cursing this blog at every stop light, but determined to just gut it out, alone if necessary as my penance for opening my big mouth in the first place.

All of my fears were unwarranted and the Universe sent me someone who was more afraid ( really afraid. " Girl, I told you the PO PO wasn't coming to get us! Besides, I would have bailed you out!) to be out there so that automatically triggered my protective instincts and *poof* my fear was gone.

The demonstration was awesome! Nobody bothered us. In fact, a ton of people walked up to us as they were going in to ask us why we were demonstrating. So we got to educate a ton of people including one girl who was a student athlete. Sorry brother, we didn't mean to mess up your evening. People stopped in their cars to read our signs and folks visiting the strip mall kept walking up to us asking us why we were out there. Some folks rolled down their windows to ask us what the deal was. Each time I told them, they said that they didn't know and looked shocked. We didn’t chant or shout anything, in fact, we waved and smiled at folks and I think that just drew folks to us out of curiosity so we could actually have a conversation. We even gave some out of town folks directions to Wal-mart.. It didn’t rain and I don’t know the capacity for the club, but he had a good turnout, but we also got to talk to a bunch of folks.

One of my protesters (there were two besides moi) was absolutely terrified*note her posture in the picture above* ( see, nobody stabbed or shot us! We're still alive.) when she got there, but by the end of demonstration she was holding her placard high and walking back and forth . She’s addicted now. An off duty peace officer scribbled his digits on the back of that placard. ( I let her take it home as a souvenir and I didn't want her to transpose any numbers). GIRL YOU BETTER CALL THAT MAN! He was fine and had nice teeth! He wrote on the back of a perfectly good placard that could have been recycled, but he had nice teeth. It is possible that he is NOT a serial killer as we discussed at dinner. Stop watching America‘s Most Wanted by yourself..A good time was had by all. Austin is such a cool town. I won't lie, when you can go through the day without seeing more than five Black folks, including your coworkers, its actually nice to see and talk to a ton of your people in a two hour span.

I treated everybody to a celebratory Chinese buffet. Their choice. Not mine, “her royal- cheapness” would have even treated them to Pappadeaux's as relieved as I was, but the buffet was all good ( and less expensive. I fed three people for the price of an entrée’ at Pappadeaux’s)

As to why I didn't call the news... At the point at which D.L. Hughley's publicist and the comedy club start calling up the media and directing them to my site with FEARS about a protest, it is pretty clear that he is using this to drive his D-list career and make him seem more edgy than he really is. Normally he would have gotten a blurb, now he is being made a feature story talking about being "unapologetic. "If the blog is so inconsequential, why are they hyping it to reporters? However, I got an entire feature article beside his article as well. THANKS DL’s PUBLICIST! The Chinese restaurant carried the entertainment paper with the articles and I grabbed a copy I was actually a shock to see my name in huge print. Like 24-36 point letters with lengthy quotes.

I accomplished my original goal. I know folks want an apology, but I really don’t want one if it is not sincere. Originally, folks didn't call him on his crap, now it seems that the controversy is all reporters want to talk with him about. The worst punishment for an attention whore is that they do not get any attention. He is using this controversy to make himself appear to be more than what he is: a D-list comedian whose only relevance is that this blog and its readers think he’s a disrespectful D-list little twit. I think we’ve established that.

This was a test for moi. There will come a time when far more is at stake when we are going to have to take to the streets again. Except the next time we won't have to battle the fear of the unknown to do so.

I got over my fear of street demonstrations, learned how to construct placards from Styrofoam poster boards duct tape and a wooden stake, educated the community, met some cool folks, got a tan, laughed a bunch, and got to play matchmaker for a very sweet lady(I played a more active role than I have described in this post.). . Did I mention he had nice teeth? Girl you better call that man! I did not get a “chop her up into tiny little pieces and bury her in the back yard” vibe from him. Generally crazy recognizes crazy, but I make no guarantees, I've been wrong before. Do you want my anti-foolishness Bar-B-Q fork?

SO what is the lesson from this? First, feel the fear and do it anyway. Second, sisters forget church, the grocery store on Tuesday nights, the club, the post office, and work. If you want to meet a brother, go pick up a placard and start marching!
I have a full recounting tomorrow. I may even do a special edition of the Black Women’s Roundtable, our podcast.

Now that this foolishness is over, we can move on to more important things again now that I don't have to worry about this twit..

I’m exhausted. G’ Nite!

P.S. If you click on the picture with the strip mall signs in the background, you can see the other "establishments" sharing space in the strip mall with the comedy club. That alone ought to make you laugh. Oh how the mighty have fallen. When they say "Labor Ready" they mean it.... whoever is ready. "Work Today. Pay Today" I especially liked "Rent -n- Roll," apparently people rent their hubcaps/rims. Who knew?Imagine if instead of renting rims, they made contributions to a Sharebuilder account? SMH Another day.

For people wondering why it is so light outside, his show started at 8:00 Ticket Sales at 7:00. This is Austin, not New York.

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D.L. Hughley Returns to Texas.... God is not Pleased.....And the Thunder Rolls..

Folk keep asking how the weather is out here. Well we were doing JUUUST fine until about 15 minutes ago and now it looks like Armageddon out there. I took a picture of what it looked like about ten minutes ago. Hopefully these are swift moving storms, most of the ones spun off from Tropical Storm Erin have been. They dump a ton of rain and then move on. At least in this area. Folks in San Antonio have been hit really hard. Y'all know I live int he flash flood capital of the country right. Anyway, I'll have my portable radio with me and short of a tornado warning from the National Weather Service, I'll get this dadgum protest over with.

The fact that the Comedy Club and Hughley's Publicist have been hyping the protest robs me of some of the joy, hence why I did not issue any press releases or call the TV stations.

Don't worry, I grew up on the coast of Texas, rain won't kill you unless you drive into a flooded creek or something. Now the lightening sheesh. The club is in an area without any tall buildings so that might be a problem... Talk about being a lightening rod.... but anyway, y'all should be more concerned about these paint and marker fumes from making these signs. Let me go open up a window.

The good news is that the bad weather MIGHT suppress attendance as it did in Ft. Worth when he came the last time.

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