Comments

  1. Bruce says

    Does the UnicornO universe include a German one in lederhosen? A Scandinavian one in a Viking helmet? A French one in a beret?
    If so, then it’s just multicultural.
    But if they’re all different kinds of fantasy unicorns (not the boring unicorns) and different kinds of animal unicorns, then the UnicornO office is saying they think Native Americans are not part of the set of different human cultures, but are part of the set of fantasy animals.
    In other words, probably yes it’s racist.

  2. Bruce says

    By the way, the photo of the 8 varieties in Series 3 indicates to me that they are all different fantasy creatures with no connection to human cultures, except for the one kind you got.
    The corporate website only shows the current series, so in a sense it looks like this product line has already been withdrawn.
    But you would maybe expect creative people in Los Angeles to be a bit more sensitive about such things.

  3. Zeckenschwarm says

    After some google-‘research’:
    Series 1: http://a.tgcdn.net/images/products/additional/large/e82c_tokidoki_unicornos_grid.jpg
    There appears to be a jamaican unicorn.
    Series 2: http://a.tgcdn.net/images/products/additional/large/e82c_tokidoki_unicornos_series2_grid.jpg
    I see a japanese and an italian unicorn.
    Series 3: http://shop.tokidoki.it/unicorno-blind-box-mini-series-3.html
    In addition to the native american unicorn there also is a clearly stereotypical egyptian unicorn.

    In conclusion: There is more than one unicorn that plays on country stereotypes. So I guess they are racist as far as those stereotypes are racist, but they don’t seem to be especially racist towards native americans.

  4. gingerest says

    When I was a tot in the early 1970s, we did a skating recital of “Ten Little Indians” and I was dressed and made up just like that, and it was preeeetttty racist. I think maybe you might seek out some other sort of cute figurines to collect.

  5. gingerbaker says

    Would it be racist if it was designed by a Native American for Native Americans?

    Is it racist if it is not denigrating? ( This is, after all, a fucking toy for kids so young they can’t possibly know anything about anything. Now, if this toy had feathers, war paint PLUS broken down pickup trucks, alcoholics, bloody scalps, and arrows sticking out of dead white children, then, yeah, it would be racist. But feathers, paint, and thunderbirds?)

    Is it racist only if the group it depicts is still extant? (What if it had pyramids, asps and ibis symbols?)

    Is it racist if you have to ponder pretty hard to decide if it is racist?

    Is it possible in this world of racist angst for something to be “racist” and still be OK? Is it possible in this world, where “race” is supposedly not even a valid scientific concept, for anything to be actually racist? Or is everything more properly called “groupist”? And is it “groupist” if it is not denigrating?

  6. Trebuchet says

    Send it on to Mano Singham, in honor of his local team. (He’s no fan, of course.)

  7. cswella says

    Would it be racist if it was designed by a Native American for Native Americans?

    It still could be, yes.

    Is it racist if it is not denigrating? ( This is, after all, a fucking toy for kids so young they can’t possibly know anything about anything. Now, if this toy had feathers, war paint PLUS broken down pickup trucks, alcoholics, bloody scalps, and arrows sticking out of dead white children, then, yeah, it would be racist. But feathers, paint, and thunderbirds?)

    Yes, it could still be racist if it’s not denigrating. (example: All Asians are good at math)

    Is it racist only if the group it depicts is still extant? (What if it had pyramids, asps and ibis symbols?)

    You can be racist towards Egyptians of old. If the genocide of Native Americans was 100% effective, the Washington Redskins would still be a racist name for a team.

    Is it racist if you have to ponder pretty hard to decide if it is racist?

    Yes. Privilege is pretty hard to get past in a lot of cases. Many people are racist without realizing it.

    Is it possible in this world of racist angst for something to be “racist” and still be OK?

    Since racism is defining people’s personality and attributes based on the color of their skin or the culture they live in, no. When have broad generalizations ever helped anyone?

    Is it possible in this world, where “race” is supposedly not even a valid scientific concept, for anything to be actually racist? Or is everything more properly called “groupist”? And is it “groupist” if it is not denigrating?

    Race isn’t a factor scientifically, but neither is global warming a debate scientifically. And yet, here we are. Race is an issue because the people who believe, against the evidence, that race is an actual thing, make it an issue.

  8. Raucous Indignation says

    Of course that shittio is racist, you dumb-fucke old curmudgeon! How could you not knowe that’s fucking racist!?

  9. Chebag says

    People. Can we focus on the real issue please? Clearly Comradde PeePee has had a stroke if she is collecting this crap.

  10. gingerbaker says

    “racism is defining people’s personality and attributes based on the color of their skin or the culture they live in, ”

    ******

    OK… but how does the pictured toy do that? It depicts established graphic icons of native American culture. I don’t see how it comments on people. Except, perhaps, for the bizarre death’s head image in the graphic that looks like a skull & crossbones – but that is included on all these strange creations. (Is the flower-death-head supposed to be making a comment on 1960’s hippies?) I concede that depictions of American Indian graphics is racial, but I don’t see how these toys are racist.

  11. says

    The flower skull one named Caramelo probably represents Mexico and Day of the Dead. They all seem a little to push to much toward stereotype. It’s an American company so it should know better I would think, about Native American images.

  12. says

    cswella @9:

    Since racism is defining people’s personality and attributes based on the color of their skin or the culture they live in, no. When have broad generalizations ever helped anyone?

    I agree with the rest of your post, but I think your definition of racism is too narrow. In my opinion, this is a better definition:

    Racism refers to a host of practices, beliefs, social relations and phenomena that work to reproduce a racial hierarchy and social structure that yields superiority and privilege for some, and discrimination and oppression for others. Racism takes representational, ideological, discursive, interactional, institutional, structural, and systemic forms. Despite its form, at its core, racism is constituted by essentialist racial categories that turn human subjects into stereotyped objects, and then uses those stereotypes to justify and reproduce a racial hierarchy and racially structured society that limits access to resources, rights, and privileges on the basis of race.

    The article then explains in detail each form of racism:

    Representational: depictions of essentialized racial stereotypes are common in popular culture and media, like the tendency to cast people of color as criminals and as victims of crime, or as background characters rather than leads, in film and television; also common are racial caricatures that are racist in their representations, like “mascots” for the Cleveland Indians, Atlanta Braves, and the Washington R******* (name redacted because it is a racial slur).

    I think the Unicorno figurine falls into the above category of racism.

     

    Ideological: racism is manifest in world views, beliefs and common sense ways of thinking that are premised on essentialist notions of racial categories, and the idea that white or light skinned people are superior, in a variety of ways, to dark skinned people. Historically, ideological racism supported and justified the building of European colonial empires and U.S. imperialism through unjust acquisition of land, people, and resources around the world. Today, some common ideological forms of racism include the belief that black women are sexually promiscuous, that Latina women are “fiery” or “hot tempered,” and that black men and boys are criminally oriented.

     

    Discursive: racism is often expressed linguistically, in the discourse we use to talk about the world and people in it, and manifests in racial slurs and hate speech, and in code words that have racialized meanings embedded in them, like “ghetto,” “thug,” or “gansta.”

     

    Interactional: racism takes an interactional form such as a white woman crossing a street to avoid walking past a black or Latino man, a person of color being verbally or physically assaulted because of their race, or when, someone assumes a person of color working at an establishment to be a low-level employee, though they might be a manager, executive, or owner.

     

    Institutional: racism can take institutional form in the way policies and laws are crafted and put into practice, such as the decades-long set of policing and legal policies known as “The War on Drugs,” which has disproportionately targeted neighborhoods and communities that are composed predominantly of people of color, New York City’s Stop-N-Frisk policy that overwhelmingly targets black and Latino males, and educational tracking policies that funnel children of color into remedial classes and trades programs.

     

    Structural: racism takes structural form in the ongoing, historical, and longterm reproduction of the racialized structure of our society through a combination of all of the above forms. Structural racism manifests in widespread racial segregation and stratification, recurrent displacement of people of color from neighborhoods that go through processes of gentrification, and the overwhelming burden of environmental pollution born by people of color given its proximity to their communities.

     

    Systemic: racism within the U.S. can be described as systemic because the country was founded on racist beliefs with racist policies and practices, and because that legacy lives today in the racism that courses throughout the entirety of our social system.

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