ST. LOUIS – A baby doll is at the center of controversy at a Schnucks grocery store. At issue is not only the name of the doll but also its color.
“It was disappointing for me because I know the power of language. Words matter,” said Pastor
Traci Blackmon about her reaction when she saw black dolls named ‘Lazy Baby.’
Traci saw the dolls at the Ladue Crossing Schnucks at Interstate 170 and Ladue Road.
“Historically, in the effort to denigrate black people, words like ‘lazy,’ ‘shuffling,’ words that refer to a lack of intelligence of black people, have been used,” Blackmon said.
Blackmon, who is the Pastor at Christ the King United Church of Christ in Blackjack, posted a Facebook Live about the dolls.
She says a store worker brought her a white ‘Lazy Baby’ doll as well.
Fox 2/News 11 found both black and white ‘Lazy Baby’ dolls at different Schnucks stores.
Blackmon says the fact that there are black and white ‘Lazy Baby’ dolls does not take away her concern.
“Having white dolls there with black dolls means that it’s not a conscious decision. It is still an issue,” she said. “I don’t think that Schnucks was intentionally making a racist statement. I want to be clear about that. What I do want to point out is that it shows a lack of diversity in the people who are in charge of making such decisions.”
Erica Van Ross, the Vice President of Communications for Schnucks, says she understands Blackmon’s viewpoint, especially as a black woman herself.
“We ordered both white and brown versions of this doll,” Van Ross said.
But Van Ross says she is not nearly as concerned because there are both black and white ‘Lazy Baby’ dolls for sale at Schnucks stores.
“Had this been a doll that only came as a brown doll or had we only ordered a brown doll, I certainly would have some immense concerns but that’s not the case,” Van Ross said.
Blackmon says this issue is about sensitivity and she would like of the dolls pulled from store shelves.
Van Ross says the Ladue Crossing store chose to pull all of its ‘Lazy Baby’ dolls but Schnucks is not pulling the dolls company-wide.
“We ordered both versions of this doll. There is a white version, there is a brown version, there is no intent there,” she said.
Van Ross says Schnucks stores are working to make sure the black and white dolls are side by side on displays.
“They get to choose what they do with their business and I get to choose whether or not I support their business,” Blackmon said.
The box that the doll comes in says the dolls are made by the Uneeda Doll Company and are manufactured in China.
Fox 2/News 11 reached out to the company for comment and we are waiting to hear back.