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Black Barbie price-cut raises eyebrows

world Updated: Mar 10, 2010 18:40 IST

BarbieWal-Mart has dropped the price of a black Barbie doll in a move that's sparked an uproar. "Both are great dolls," emphasised a Wal-Mart spokeswoman.

The price was cut $2 for a black Ballerina Teresa Barbie from the $5.93 for the white version as the black Barbies weren't selling. "Pricing like items differently is a part of inventory management in retailing," the spokeswoman told a website. However, a Harlem activist has warned that this "can have collateral damage."

The "implication of lowering the price is that it's devaluing the black doll," Thelma Dye, the executive director of the Northside Center for Child Development told the website. Wal-Mart could have decided "that it's important we don't send a message that we value blackness less than whiteness," Los Angeles sociology professor Lisa Wade was quoted by the website.

Wade said that when white dolls outsell black dolls, it's usually because black parents are more likely than white parents to buy their children dolls of a different race.