A New Jersey city pulled a black rag doll from store shelves when word spread on social media that the doll was created to be abused.
A label attached to the doll dubbed a Feel Better Doll and sold at the Northeast chain One Dollar Zone reads:
“Whenever things don’t go well and you want to hit the wall and yell, here’s a little ‘feel better doll’ that you just will not do without. Just grab it firmly by the legs and find a wall to slam the doll and as you whack the ‘feel good doll’ do not forget to yell ‘I FEEL GOOD, I FEEL GOOD.'”
The doll caught the attention of New Jersey Assemblywoman Angela McKnight, who visited a One Dollar Zone in Bayonne, which is about six miles south of Jersey City.
McKnight said the doll is an “offensive, “disturbing” and “inappropriate representation of a black person.”
“Racism has no place in the world and I will not tolerate it, especially not in this district,” she said. “When I saw the doll in person, I cringed and was truly disheartened by the thought of a black child being beaten by another child or an adult for pure pleasure.”
McKnight said seeing the dolls moved her to act, and when she spoke with the store’s general manager, the dolls were promptly removed.
“To have a product depict or teach children that it is OK to hit another child, regardless of race, in order to feel good is sick,” McKnight said. “Dolls should be a symbol of love, care and affection.”
One Dollar Zone President Ricky Shah later told reporters about 1,000 of the Feel Better Dolls have been pulled from three One Dollar Zone stores in New Jersey.
Shah apologized in a USA Today article and said that although the company didn’t adequately check a shipment of 35,000 close-out items before distributing them, the dolls were immediately pulled from shelves last week when customers complained.
Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis said in a Facebook post July 22 that the doll “can certainly be considered racist.”
“Assemblywoman Angela McKnight contacted me and we have ensured this doll is pulled from the shelves of this store,” Davis said. “The manager of the store was very apologetic and quickly took down the dolls without hesitation.”
Davis said he was shocked to see “such an insensitive product” sold in his community, and he thanked McKnight for her quick response.
“We will not tolerate any symbol of hate and division within our community,” Davis said.