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#1 Old 07-19-2010, 04:28 PM
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Barbies at Target: "White version, full price. Black version, CLEARANCE."

http://www.rageagainsttheminivan.com...al-barbie.html



Oh, and it's not just dolls. It's babies, too.

"It’s about $8,000 cheaper to adopt a black baby than a white or Hispanic child and girls tend to cost about $2,000 more than boys."

http://www.economist.com/blogs/freee...ets_everything



It's not just about race, it's about sex and gender too. Let's talk.
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#2 Old 07-19-2010, 05:27 PM
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Disturbing, but not surprising. *sigh*



IMO, there should be an agency that handles the paperwork for all adoptions, to eliminate or at least minimize legal fees. The costs of adoption should be set at or near the cost of having a biological child, so that there's no disincentive to adopting. Excess costs should be government (i.e., taxpayer) funded; it would still be, financially, cheaper for the taxpayers than lifelong foster care, not even taking into account the benefit to the children and families.
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#3 Old 07-19-2010, 11:21 PM
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I don't assume that the black Barbies being on clearance is necessarily a sign of racism. People often want dolls that look like themselves or their kids in overt ways. I'm not sure that noticing skin color in that way has to be a sign of racism? Target may have over-ordered black dolls given the population of black people in the area, and given that black people in most areas are a minority group. They just may not be selling. It may not be racism, but a bad purchasing decision.



If I were buying a doll for a child with red hair, and there was a red haired doll, I'd probably choose that one.

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#4 Old 07-19-2010, 11:34 PM
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Those Barbies also look like hyper socialized femininity. I wouldn't really want to get one of those for any color of child. Do they still sell the hippie family dolls?

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#5 Old 07-20-2010, 01:35 AM
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It could be entirely possible that this isn't the fault of Target, but rather just a single employee thinking that this possibly lame attempt at humor was funny.
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#6 Old 07-20-2010, 01:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irizary' date='20 July 2010 - 01:21 AM' timestamp='1279603268' post='2676170 View Post


I don't assume that the black Barbies being on clearance is necessarily a sign of racism. People often want dolls that look like themselves or their kids in overt ways. I'm not sure that noticing skin color in that way has to be a sign of racism? Target may have over-ordered black dolls given the population of black people in the area, and given that black people in most areas are a minority group. They just may not be selling. It may not be racism, but a bad purchasing decision.



If I were buying a doll for a child with red hair, and there was a red haired doll, I'd probably choose that one.



I'll quote the blogger who spotted the price differences:

Quote:
I think it is completely normal for kids to want a doll that looks just like them, and fine if we indulge that wish. I'm just saying . . . we should all be aware of that immature yet natural tendency children (and some adults) have to prefer sameness. In so many areas, our children need our guidance to grow beyond certain tendencies (selfishness, impulsiveness, etc). Play is such a unique teaching opportunity. So sure, we buy our kids the dolls that represent them. But we can also be using that play as a chance to teach that friends do not have to look the same . . . that we should choose our friends based on shared values and interests, and not based on who looks just like us. [...] I think it is really hard for a lot of people to accept that there is still a lot of racial tension in our country, and I think it is easier to stick our heads in the sand and assume people are being too sensitive, or going around looking for it, or whatever.

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#7 Old 07-20-2010, 05:45 PM
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Or it could just be economics. Perhaps they had an order that included more black barbies than they could sell in that particular store within the time frame that fits within product turnover schedules. Maybe whoever made the order thought there were more black people in the area than there turned out to be. Not ignoring the larger cultural cause of this (as was already mentioned, an innate preference for sameness that a lot of people don't question and just go with), just saying.. in that particular store, for that particular instance, it could just be economics.
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#8 Old 07-20-2010, 11:20 PM
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In so many areas, our children need our guidance to grow beyond certain tendencies (selfishness, impulsiveness, etc). Play is such a unique teaching opportunity. So sure, we buy our kids the dolls that represent them. But we can also be using that play as a chance to teach that friends do not have to look the same . . . that we should choose our friends based on shared values and interests, and not based on who looks just like us. [...]



This is a good point.



I think still though that it was not a racist decision on the part of Target.
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#9 Old 07-21-2010, 03:41 AM
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Thinking the black Barbies thing is racism is just plain, downright odd. Toys and other merchandise go on sale or not because of demand. If it was white, Jetski Barbie that was overstocked that would be the one on say.



The blogger is just one of those people who wander around looking for things to get angry at. Or maybe it's a pastiche - "I'm in the category for "funniest blog", which is kind of a lot of pressure" against the savvy consumerist post, always looking for a bargain (this blogger always wants to pay top dollar and is upset when things are on sale, but I don't think the whole "oh no, black Barbies are cheaper, I want to pay more for my toys" is serious. If anything, making white Barbies dearer than black Barbies discriminates against the white Barbies, it makes them harder to buy and people are more likely to buy the black ones.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Irizary' date='20 July 2010 - 04:34 PM' timestamp='1279604096' post='2676171 View Post


Those Barbies also look like hyper socialized femininity. I wouldn't really want to get one of those for any color of child.



Another reason why I suspect this is a pastiche to see who will bite. Anyone genuinely worried about toys sending messages to kids that everyone is the same isn't going to be buying Barbies.

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#10 Old 07-22-2010, 01:21 AM
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I thought the Barbie story was just a lead in to the real story, which is the relative demand by adoptive parents for white children versus black children, girls versus boys, and the relative costs of each.



That's what I found sad and interesting.
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#11 Old 07-22-2010, 03:51 AM
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Children shouldn't come with prices. There should be one set adoption fee that is set by the state. How do people get to charge different amounts for different kids? That makes it sound like they are selling the kids, not adopting them out.

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#12 Old 07-22-2010, 11:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiz' date='22 July 2010 - 04:51 AM' timestamp='1279792281' post='2677204 View Post


Children shouldn't come with prices. There should be one set adoption fee that is set by the state. How do people get to charge different amounts for different kids? That makes it sound like they are selling the kids, not adopting them out.



I understand that the practice is justified by making it easier to adopt types of children for which there is less demand. We may idealize that all children should be equally wanted (and it would be good to work towards that goal), but in reality that's just not the case. It's more difficult to adopt out children who display antisocial and violent behaviors, it is also more difficult to adopt out children with disabilities, and children of minority races, partly because the majority of families that are minority in race are also lower in income, unfortunately. So they adjust cost so that the kids with a disadvantage among the white upper and middle classes who want perfect little children would get an advantage in other families for whom cost, but not love or commitment, is a factor.



Also, I understand that prospective parents are required to take classes and/or have experience to know how to take care of the more difficult kids. Even white families adopting a black child iirc are required to take African-American Appreciation classes or some such. All that costs money on top of the adoption fee. So that could be another factor.
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#13 Old 07-22-2010, 12:00 PM
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The fees and requirements vary widely. The justifications for fee schedules vary as well. Curcuma is only partially correct. But here's the point: making all adoptions cost the same isn't likely to actually benefit children.
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#14 Old 07-22-2010, 01:52 PM
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Why not? They shouldn't be selling them anyway. Surely it should be something that is set up for the benefit of the child, and the state bears the bulk of the cost, whatever it happens to be?

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#15 Old 07-22-2010, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Kiz' date='22 July 2010 - 03:52 PM' timestamp='1279828331' post='2677404 View Post


Why not? They shouldn't be selling them anyway. Surely it should be something that is set up for the benefit of the child, and the state bears the bulk of the cost, whatever it happens to be?

First, there is too high of a "demand" for healthy white newborns. The "supply" simply doesn't exist in the quantities demanded by the typical adoptive family: infertile white middle class Americans. Changing adoption fees to make those children "less expensive" or to make all the other children "more expensive" wouldn't lessen the "demand" for healthy white newborns because it's not based on price/fees/cost. It's based on the parents' desire for children who look like them.



Moreover, the fees associated with adoption depend on the situation. Adoptions vary widely, as I said before, and can involve all sorts of arrangements. It's simply unrealistic to think that adoption reform of the magnitude that you suggest (wherein adoptions are all the same cost).

Here is a short, incomplete list of types of adoptions:

- Private arrangement between a birth mother and adoptive parents. Usually the fees are legal fees and some sort of compensation for the birth mother (examples: medical costs, transportation costs, etc.)

- Private domestic adoption through an agency. Either a birth mother chooses a family or the prospective adoptive parents are matched by the agency with a child available or potentially available for adoption through public or private fostercare. Fees involved can include legal fees, homestudy fees, classes or workshops, physical exam, background check, etc.

- Private international adoption through an agency. Prospective adoptive parents are often matched by the agency with a child from an orphanage in another country. Fees involved can include legal fees, homestudy fees, classes or workshops, physical exam, background check, visas, travel, etc. Sometimes there is a "finders" type of fee for the person or organization that helps match parents with children. All of the adoptions above can cost up to about $40,000, but fees vary widely depending on the agency, individuals, and the countries involved.

- Public/gov domestic adoption. Children are matched with prospective adoptive parents or the adoptive parents express interest in children featured on websites, news, etc. Fees are extremely low and usually only include nominal fees for background check, etc. Classes are usually free. These adoptions often cost less than $2000 or can be free. In fact, some adoptions may come with financial assistance from the state, similar to foster parenting but the family arrangement is permanent whereas in fostercare the family arrangement is temporary.

- Other adoptions. Step-parents often formally adopt the children of their new spouse. Grandparents often adopt their grandchildren when the birth parents cannot care for the children (incapacitation, death, addiction). Arrangements with surrogate mothers are often technically adoptions. And more... you get the idea, there are many many many types of adoptions.



Here's one resource for learning about adoption costs: http://www.theadoptionguide.com/cost...-adoption-cost

And adoption options: http://www.theadoptionguide.com/opti...on-options.php
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#16 Old 07-27-2010, 11:25 PM
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Speaking on the Barbies, Target is not being racist at all. Toys go on clearance all the time because they are slow sellers. That's not Target's fault. Target (and all retail stores) sees dollar signs. If something is taking up valuable shelf space that could be turning over profit on a daily basis, they quit selling it. They stock that shelf space with something that does sell. Now, if Target refused to sell the doll in the first place saying it wasn't something that will sell, I would call racism. But they gave it a shot. Consumers are to blame.



Speaking on adoption, my thought is this: if the majority of couples wanting to adopt are middle class whites with infertility problems, they probably want a kid that could pass as their own. I know a couple that have infertility issues and it is embarrassing to them for some reason (I don't know why, but they are being hush-hush about it). They are trying to have a kid, but they may have to adopt. If they do adopt, I'm sure they will choose a mixed baby (they are not both white). I can tell for some reason that if casual strangers asked about their adopted child (if they choose to adopt) they would use elusive wording to make it sound like the child is theirs. This mentality may play heavily on race by adoption. As for discounting adoption rates for boys, all I can say is: have you seen how annoying boys can be? Dang. Girls have tea parties. Boys want to destroy your house with plastic weaponry. I can see why girls may be more sought-after. Maybe I'm wrong. That's just been my observation.



Going beyond adoption, what about choosing a mate? Adoption is simply picking out what you want in a child. It's pretty much the same thing as choosing a mate. You go for what you want. Therefore, is it racist if your mate is the same race as yourself?
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#17 Old 07-28-2010, 01:49 AM
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Originally Posted by sleepydvdr' date='28 July 2010 - 12:25 AM' timestamp='1280294718' post='2679766 View Post


Going beyond adoption, what about choosing a mate? Adoption is simply picking out what you want in a child. It's pretty much the same thing as choosing a mate. You go for what you want. Therefore, is it racist if your mate is the same race as yourself?



If I say: "I might encounter someone whose ethics, beliefs, interests and sense of humor mesh perfectly with my own, but I won't consider dating him, much less marrying him, unless he's the same race I am," how is that not racist?



As for girls being in higher demand - that's only true for adoptions. For biological children, the preference is for boys. Interesting.
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#18 Old 07-28-2010, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by mlp' date='28 July 2010 - 03:49 AM' timestamp='1280303397' post='2679793 View Post






As for girls being in higher demand - that's only true for adoptions. For biological children, the preference is for boys. Interesting.

The theory is that people tend to see adoptable children as damaged goods and they think girls are less risky.

Another theory is that women play a larger role in the adoption process than men and they prefer girls.

Yet another theory is that people generally view adoption as a rescue and they think of girls as more vulnerable/more in need of rescuing.



On race:

the preference for white and nonblack babies creates an incentive for adoption agencies to to pressure or coerce pregnant nonblack women into giving away/selling their children. I'm guessing that the potential for corruption is higher among these kinds of adoptions because there's more money to be made.



It also means that pregnant black women can't as easily view adoption as a realistic alternative to abortion. It seems to me that if anti-abortion people were more serious about saving babies that they'd not only promote adoption more strongly, they'd also try to eliminate the racial biases.



In general, I think the larger problem is that adoption has become an industry built to serve mostly infertile people rather than to serve pregnant women or children. A child-centered approach would not excuse away this racial bias; it would try to change it.
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#19 Old 07-28-2010, 08:10 AM
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Originally Posted by ElaineVigneault' date='28 July 2010 - 06:55 AM' timestamp='1280325315' post='2679846 View Post




It seems to me that if anti-abortion people were more serious about saving babies that they'd not only promote adoption more strongly, they'd also try to eliminate the racial biases.





This is an excellent point and one I have never thought of before.
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#20 Old 07-28-2010, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by ElaineVigneault' date='28 July 2010 - 09:55 AM' timestamp='1280325315' post='2679846 View Post


In general, I think the larger problem is that adoption has become an industry built to serve mostly infertile people rather than to serve pregnant women or children. A child-centered approach would not excuse away this racial bias; it would try to change it.



They're pricing black adoptions lower than white adoptions not because black babies are cheaper for the adoption agency to care for obviously, but because people are willing or able to spend less money on them. In this regard adoptive parents of white children are actually cross subsidizing the care of black children awaiting adoption through paying higher fees. Probably the people who are able to pay the fees associated with adopting a white baby are also more likely to be white and want a white baby but not a black baby (and this is of course, true, if you look at the relevant statistics).



If rather than cross subsidized fees (non-black babies more expensive to adopt than black babies) to provide care for all the children by the adoption agency at the same level, and instead the real costs were passed on to the adoptive parent (i.e. higher cost for black babies, lower cost for white babies) - then you would expect that fewer black babies would be adopted. This is obviously why adoption agencies in fact do not charge the same fees as you propose.



So i think the proposal is not child-centered, its centered on the correct sensibilities of adults to racial issues. We might decide that as a society, the racial disparity in adoption price is so insulting, that this dignity harm against black people in general exceeds the harm in having fewer black babies adopted - and that might be a reasonable decision (we after all, often make decisions based on *rights* and not based on some utilitarian calculus of needs). But it shouldn't be pretended to be child centric.



Its not clear either if the problem would be solved by massive government spending to equalize the cost of adoption down. This still would not increase demand for black babies, but it might remove one of the incentives to adopt one - say a rare adoptive parent has tight finances but truly no racial preference, under the current set up they would be more likely to adopt a black baby than a white baby because if they have no preference cost would be the only consideration - but if the adoptions cost the same they might instead go for the babies who seem to have the fewest problems including potential social problems as a result of racism. This would again mean fewer black babies were adopted.
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#21 Old 07-28-2010, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by suchgreatheight' date='28 July 2010 - 02:47 PM' timestamp='1280342855' post='2679969 View Post


They're pricing black adoptions lower than white adoptions not because black babies are cheaper for the adoption agency to care for obviously, but because people are willing or able to spend less money on them. In this regard adoptive parents of white children are actually cross subsidizing the care of black children awaiting adoption through paying higher fees.

First, they're not actually pricing adoptions this way. The article referenced in the first post is simply using economic terms and theories to describe racial bias in adoption.



From what I understand...

No one is "subsidizing" private adoptions. Each agency charges the fees they charge for whatever reasons they choose.



Adoptions through fostercare are slightly different. They have nominal fees that cover actual costs. It's not a business, it's a public service.

but yes, the state "discounts" some costs for adoptions of black children, children with medical needs, drug exposed babies, and sibling sets in order to promote the adoptions of those kids by lessoning the barriers. In this case, tax payers subsidize the adoptions, not adoptive parents of healthy white newborn girls. But if you think about it, tax payers pay for fostercare, which is more expensive than adoption, so by promoting adoptions through these "discounts" it actually saves tax dollars.
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