"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Saturday, March 13, 2010

"Books have the same enemies as people: fire, humidity, animals, weather, and their own content." - Paul Valery

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The Walmart Barbie Scandal » Sociological Images

"Walmart pricing a darker-skinned version of the Ballerina Theresa doll less than its white counterpart...

Walmart claimed that the doll was priced less because they were trying to move inventory...

We know that people of all colors tend to absorb a color hierarchy in which whiteness is nicer, more beautiful, and more valuable...

I think it is perfectly fine to discount white dolls while other dolls are left undiscounted, but not vice versa.  Why?  Because we live in a world where discounting dark-skinned dolls resonates with a discourse the symbolically devalues dark-skinned human beings.  Discounting white dolls simply does not carry the same problematic message"


Yet, pricing black dolls the same as white dolls is RACIST because black people are poorer than white people. So you just cannot win.

So much for being judged not by the color of your skin, but by the content of your character - it's alright to symbolically devalue some people, but not others.

More nonsensical comments:

"The black doll is not just on sale: it’s on clearance, while the white doll is continuing to sell normally. The clearance tag sends the message that they’re actually just trying to get rid of it".

And of course some others go on about how evil capitalism is, and that that is the root cause. Naturally, a dissenting commenter is accused of trolling even though he wants to turn attention to "real problems"; "the residual socioeconomic crap that non-whites have to deal with".

More sensible comments:

i) "A non-automated system, aka judgment based, would open them up to all kinds of problems and liabilities...

Everyone saying Wal-Mart should eat the loss and price them equally; go spend YOUR money buying the darker-skinned dolls to drive up demand. It’s a heck of a lot easier to say that someone else should throw their money into fixing perceived inequality than it is to do it yourself.

Wal-Mart’s margins are low as is. They deal in volume and supply chain efficiencies, not in taking one for the politically correct team. They don’t want (and can’t really have in their current business model) the overhead required to culturally check every pricing decision, stocking decision, point-of-purchase placement decision, etc. That’s simply not realistic."

Not to mention that that will raise prices, which will disproportionately hurt blacks, which is racist in itself.

ii) "The thing is, the person at Walmart who made the decision to put the black doll on sale, probably didn’t even know what item it was – just SKU4792 or whatever. There’s a huge database that tracks sales curves and all that stuff, and it pops out pricing recommendations daily (or even more often). If anybody even reviews it, they just see that SKU4792 is selling at the rate of only X per day, and with a backstock of Y, they need to start clearing it out so they can have turnover of 42 days or less, or whatever."

iii) “J’aime pas les pseudo-démocrates qui refusent toute discussion en vomissant, en des termes peu ou fréquemment usités, leur haine de ceux qui osent les contredire.”

iv) "I think it’s disgusting that they’re selling black dolls at all. By symbolically putting a price on a person of colour they are sending an unconscious message justifying the practice of slavery."
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