American Doll ditches its Asian American girl

It’s back to the ’50s for the American Doll collection. The toy maker, Mattel, is “retiring” four of its dolls, including the only Asian American doll in its collection.

A big deal?

“If you don’t have the doll, then you don’t have the story,” Taylor Her, 14, says. She and her sister have started a petition to try to talk some sense into American Doll.

“The bottom line is (American Girl) is a company and they need to make money. They care about social issues as long as they make money,” said Elizabeth Chin, a professor at the Art Center College of Design, who has written extensively on children, popular culture and race, tells NBC.

“I’ve always felt strongly they should have books and toys that reflect what they look like, and I’ve gone out of my way in the past to look for alternatives to Barbie,” said Katy Lee, a mother in Oakland, California, whose half-Chinese, six and eight-year-old daughters each own an American Girl doll.

“It’s disappointing that the Asian-American experience is taken out of the picture, because it’s part of their heritage,” added Lee.

In the fall, the renamed “BeForever” line will include three dolls of color: Addy, an African-American runaway slave during the Civil War era; Josefina, a Mexican girl in Sante Fe, New Mexico in 1824; and Kaya, a Native American girl of the Nez Perce tribe in 1764. The remaining dolls are white.

  • joetron2030

    Back to the 50s? From most of the American Girl catalogs and stuff I see around our house, the company has barely entered the 1900s.

  • kevinfromminneapolis

    The bottom line is it’s a doll.

  • Melissa

    Isn’t this “retiring” of dolls just temporary? They just brought back some of the first dolls that they “retired.” I get that it’s nice to have dolls with various cultural backgrounds and maybe they should make another Asian doll as well, but isn’t this just like Disney “putting movies back in the vault” only to re-release them and make you pay for them again in a few years?