Left: Dolls in black fabric, with hair strings in yellow, red, black, green and white. The dolls wear a smile on their face, and have a red scarf around their neck that reads "I ❤ you." Right: Description on the doll instructs user to 'whack' the doll against a wall to 'feel better'

Angela V. McKnight/Facebook

Black ‘Feel Better’ dolls pulled from stores over accusations of racism

A label encouraged people to 'whack' the doll to 'feel better.'

Jul 29, 2019, 10:26 am


Samira Sadeque 

Samira Sadeque

A dollar store in New Jersey has reportedly removed its collection of black rag dolls after a lawmaker paid the store a visit.

State Assemblywoman Angela McKnight shared the account on Facebook on July 22, prompting many to condemn the store for carrying the dolls in the first place. 

McKnight’s photos show that the dolls are made with black fabric and multicolored yarn for hair. The dolls have smiles on their face and red scarves around their necks that read “I ❤ you.” But the labels on the dolls’ stomachs are less heartwarming. 

“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 do not do without,” the label says. “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.”

McKnight said she paid a visit to the One Dollar Zone in Bayonne, New Jersey, after seeing posts about the dolls on social media. 

“I knew I had to do something immediately,” McKnight wrote in her Facebook post. “This doll is offensive and disturbing on so many levels. It is clearly made in an inappropriate representation of a black person and instructs people to ‘slam’ and ‘whack’ her.”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Assemblywoman Angela McKnight Has Offensive Black Dolls Pulled from Shelves in Bayonne(Bayonne,…

Posted by Angela V. McKnight on Monday, July 22, 2019

She said the store manager was compliant to her request and removed the dolls while she was there. According to the Associated Press, the president of One Dollar Zone said about 1,000 dolls were removed from three store locations in New Jersey.

People on Facebook applauded McKnight for her action.

“I will not shop in that store again just because the manager thought it was ok to order the dolls and sell them,” wrote one user, thanking McKnight. “I worked in a dollars store before and we chose what we want to sell. This is a disgrace and unbelievable. Why are we the subject of anger.”

“Thats a really disturbing toy, on so many levels. Not one adult working in management thought this was a BAD idea??” another said. 

Meanwhile, some commenters argued they may have been voodoo dolls. 

“OMG ….. This doll is NOT racist. It’s a part of Black Magic Rituals. The doll being all black has a spiritual meaning,” one user wrote on Facebook. “So I am assuming none of you people heard of a worry doll either. And when one is on the shelf, they will be removed too.”

“I was gonna say this reminds me of a voo doo doll, or one used for Santeria,” another user said. 

The website listed on the dolls’ labels did not load when the Daily Dot ran a search on Monday morning. A search for Harvey Hutter Co. Inc., deduced from the website name, showed the business is “permanently closed.”


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*First Published: Jul 29, 2019, 10:26 am