Controversial dolls sold inside Lansing store

Local News

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — One woman is sharing a teachable moment surrounding racism after making a trip to the Lansing Mall. Controversial dolls were for sale at one of the stores.

Hilary Waddles said she spotted the dolls inside “Sleeping Tiger Imports”.

“I didn’t say anything to ya know, the store clerk at that point because I’m like well maybe I’m overreacting,” Waddles said.

After showing this picture of the dolls to her friends and family she no longer felt that way.

Waddles said, “They were like oh that’s terrible, that’s appalling.”

She wrote this post on Facebook to show people what she saw, “Just to educate people that yes, this kind of imagery is offensive and it has a long history of being used to mock and demean black people. It’s very recognizable it looks like blackface, like an old minstrel show figure.”

Tim Szubinski is the head of Sleeping Tiger Imports and said, “I guess I’m not really understanding what the issue is.”

He said, “I buy stuff from Africa, same kind of intent, ya know, they do art work for me, if there’s a woman carrying a pot on her head somebody’s gonna take that as a racist or prejudicial thing, ya know that’s the way they live their lives.

Szubinski says the dolls were taken down and, “You’re taking one person’s view and allowing her to dictate this to other people. That’s just the reality of it.”

He said the dolls are handcrafted pieces of art from a small village in Thailand and that there was no ill intent.

Waddles said, “I believe that most people if they know this kind of thing is offensive and hurtful and has this long history of hurtfulness I think most people are decent and want to do the right thing.”

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