By Charlotte Huffman
UPPER DARBY, Pa. (CBS) – A frustrated mom says for years she has struggled to find African-American dolls for her daughter for Christmas.
Fed up with what she calls an “injustice,” the Upper Darby mom is speaking out in hopes of making a change for children.
“Every year it is frustrating. But this year – enough is enough. It’s not fair,” said Vannessa Butler while looking at an aisle full of Caucasian Barbie dolls.
Butler’s six-year-old daughter is hoping Santa will bring her one this year’s hot toys, the Barbie and Ken Mini Cooper Convertible set.
The problem is – Barbie manufacturer Mattel only makes the set with a Caucasian Barbie and Caucasian Ken.
Butler says when she contacted Mattel about the discrepancy, the toymaker suggested she buy each item separately — the convertible, an African-American Barbie and an African-American Ken.
“I’m going to pay two times what the Caucasian parent would pay and I’ll have the convertible and Barbie and Ken in three separate boxes instead of the set that they made for the Caucasian Barbie,” said Butler.
As a result, Butler says the item won’t be sitting under her tree on Christmas morning:
“It hurts because I have to tell my child she can’t have something that she really wants.”
On a giving tree at a New Jersey mall, Eyewitness News found another child’s Christmas wish for an “African-American Barbie.”
Eyewitness News searched online retailers like Target.com where more than 600 dolls are for sale. About 30 of them are African-American.
Inside stores like Toys “R” Us we found a similar story — row after row of Caucasian dolls with a few African-American dolls in between.
Eyewitness News searched the sites of some of the major doll manufacturers to find out if the limited selection is a result of retailers not buying African-American dolls or manufacturers not producing them.
We found Mattel makes and sells 240 dolls — less than a dozen are African-American.
Another doll manufacturer, Hasbro, offers nearly 60 dolls, but only a small fraction of them are African-American.
Check Out These Other Stories: