"Lil' Monkey" Doll Brings Racism to the Toy Aisle

Black baby doll + cuddly monkey = lots of complaints

By Todd Wright
|  Thursday, Aug 13, 2009  |  Updated 3:15 PM CDT
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"Lil' Monkey" Doll Brings Racism to the Toy Aisle

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Would you cuddle with this?

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Putting a cute baby and a cuddly monkey together can sometimes seem like a good marketing idea, but in today’s PC world, that pairing will get you fired.

Wholesale giant Costco had to pull thousands of its “Cuddle with Me” baby dolls because some parents thought the African-American plastic doll and the plush monkey she had as a pet was a bit racist, according to media reports. Probably more offensive was the cap on the baby’s head that read “lil’ monkey.”

According to the Costco website you can buy a black, Hispanic or Caucasian "Cuddle with Me" doll with a Panda bear. (We're not touching that one.)

Brass Key, the company that makes the toy, has apologized for the misunderstanding, saying the offensive meaning was not within their company's "realm of thinking."

Riiiight. Who would be offended by a black doll with a cap that reads “lil’ monkey” on it? 

The whole "blacks descended from apes" racist theory has long been the foundation of ignorant jokes that some thought might have been phased out of common thinking. But even President Obama has been the target of someone not thinking using a monkey to symbolize a black person was potentially offensive.

A Costco spokesman said he regrets that the product offended anyone and the doll has been pulled from all stores. It took a complaint from a man who bought the doll in Greensboro, N.C. to get the racist ball rolling on this one. A chain letter soon followed that eventually reached Costco execs and the PC police.

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