Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Baby Alive African American

Baby Alive African American

Will Obama Have to Spend More Than His White Rivals?

Joan Steinau Lester

Will Barack Obama have to spend more than a white candidate would to secure the Democratic Party nomination? It seems preposterous, but actually, across the board, African Americans pay more for almost everything.

Just before Christmas, I decided to give my granddaughter one of the big items on her Santa wish list: Baby Alive. She talks, she pees, she poops! Once I resolved to honor the grandkids' wishes, I assumed that one click of the mouse would secure me a Baby Alive, ready to ship.

But alas, there were choices. The first item to appear on Amazon was Baby Alive Caucasian for $32.99, who came with special extras: a "bonus diaper bag and diapers." Aside from the fact that she looked like a Stepford wife, with hideously unnatural blonde hair, I wanted to at least add to my mixed-race granddaughter's collection of variously complected dark-skinned dolls.

I clicked again. Two more came up: Baby Alive Hispanic and Baby Alive African American. Other than skin color and hairstyles, they appeared exactly the same as the white doll. (Baby Alive Hispanic, with her straightened hair, looked like a Junior Supreme.) But these two dolls of color were $39.99 each and came with minimum accoutrements: no bonus diaper bag, no extras.

Should I pay a $20 premium to buy a darker doll with paraphernalia that, if bought separately, would cost another $14.99, for a whopping 70% price differential? (After Christmas the accessory pack cost grew to $17.99.) For two days my thrifty upbringing warred with my social conscience. In the end, I bought Baby Alive Hispanic.

But wow, I reflected: from redlined neighborhoods, with their premium mortgages and inflated house costs, to higher grocery store bills, Buying In Color costs more. A lot more. (After Christmas, when Baby Alive's prices jumped, the disparity increased further: the white doll, who still comes with "bonus diaper bag and doll diapers," now costs $44.99, while Baby Alive Hispanic is $79.99--no extras--meaning she costs more than double, if you include the stand-alone accessory pack, and Baby Alive African American, also with no bonus bag or extra diapers, is a bewildering $69.99.) Like fractals, a pattern which repeats throughout nature in varying sizes, this premium pricing permeates every aspect of U.S. life--even to the presidential primary, where Barack Obama spent more on Iowa advertising (about $7.5 million) than any other candidate, Democrat or Republican.

On Christmas Day my excited granddaughter called to tell me about Baby Alive's gastrointestinal delights, but she did acknowledge, "We only have two diapers and they're used up. Mommy is taking me tomorrow to get more." So they'll buy those bonus diapers that came free to white Baby Alive.

We've long said," A person of color or a woman has to be twice as good as a white man to succeed." Should we add: "And spend a lot more, too"? If Barack Obama does secure his party's nomination, let's hope it won't cost him a Buying While Black premium to get it.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
Joan Steinau Lester

Joan Steinau Lester

Dr. Joan Steinau Lester is the author of six books, including the novels "Black, White, Other: In Search of Nina Armstrong" (2017) and "Mama's Child" (2013) and, a forthcoming memoir from the University of Wisconsin Press "Loving Before Loving: A Marriage in Black and White" in the spring of 2021. Her website is here: www.joanlester.com

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Supreme Court Denies Trump Bid to Conceal Records From Jan. 6 Panel

One government watchdog group welcomed the decision as "a huge win for transparency."

Jessica Corbett ·


Jayapal, Lee Resolution Promotes More Peaceful US Foreign Policy

"It's far past time we take our foreign policy into the 21st century," said Rep. Barbara Lee. "We should be leading with diplomacy and human needs as the path to global security."

Brett Wilkins ·


Anti-War Veterans Group Issues Its Own 'Nuclear Posture Review'

Released ahead of a Biden administration report, the assessment warns that the danger of nuclear war is greater than ever.

Jessica Corbett ·


Critics Warn Puerto Rico Debt Plan Will Lead to More Austerity

"The island's ability to resume growth and avoid cuts in anti-poverty programs are both chief concerns," said one economic justice advocate.

Julia Conley ·


Faith Leaders, Rights Groups to Biden: End Immigration Detention

"People are losing their lives to a detention system that simply does not need to exist," said one immigrant rights advocate.

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo