back to article Playmobil cops broadside for 'racist' pirate slave

A California mother is less than impressed with a Playmobil pirate ship set which includes a dark-skinned figurine with a shackle around his neck. Ida Lockett's son received the vessel as a fifth birthday present, according to CBS in Sacramento. She said: "He was excited when he got it. I spent the weekend putting it together …

  1. Known Hero

    Common Lego !!

    Please don't pull product. Its just a reference to what happened historically. If you hadn't included it they would be screaming at you for ignoring the real issue of historical slavery and how it affects black culture in america today, and as a white man corporation you are just glossing over all the evil you did.

    Are the pieces not interchangeable anyway ? Stick it on the white guy and have a giggle.

    1. g e

      Re: Common Lego !!

      I'm horrified by the racist overtones in this, to be honest.

      That all white people should be stereotyped as buccaneering, murderous thieves and looters is, frankly, monstrously offensive.

      1. fruitoftheloon
        Stop

        @g e: Re: Common Lego !!

        G e,

        Darned right, as a whitey english bloke with not much hair, I would be horrified if Brits (deliberate use of that word) were ever portrayed in history/cinema/tv as ever having been not nice to other people, having pinched their countries (especially so if the local blokes wore grass skirts...), 'acquired' wealth from the natural resources therabouts.

        Oh fuck, did we once have an empire?

      2. chivo243 Silver badge

        Re: Common Lego !!

        @g e

        But we are, aren't we? I have to doubt many of 'us' would be around if our "ancestors' didn't do some nasty shit, survival of the shittiest? Some of us need to get over it, some of us need to remember the lessons learned.

        For all reading whose family didn't commit some atrocity in the past, I applaud you.

    2. Steven Roper

      Re: Common Lego !!

      "Please don't pull product."

      Sadly, they probably will, because these fucking whining fools will now raise a huge fuss, the media will be all over it with their familiar plethora of self-righteous neo-liberal buzzwords, and the usual pile of sanctimonious PC maggots will come crawling out of the woodwork to add their bellyaching to the mix.

      Those of us not cowed by these hand-wringing nutjobs need to form an opposing force and let Playmobil know in no uncertain terms that they'll make more money telling the PC whingers to fuck off, and selling to the far larger, albeit less noisy, market that is sick and tired of these do-gooders taking offence at everything.

      Especially if we make it clear to the likes of Walmart and Amazon that if they pull this product if Playmobil don't, they'll be the target of a boycott and complaint deluge far greater than anything the PC brigade can raise. I personally will be emailing Playmobil to this effect, and I will email the same to any retailer that pulls it as well.

      It only needs to happen once, and these whining bastards will forever lose their power.

      1. tony72

        Re: Common Lego !!

        I'm not generally one of the PC brigade, but in this case I think they should pull it. The "context" is not attached to the figurine; at the end of the day, that is a black slave toy with a slave collar around its neck. If it was on its own in a box labelled "Black Slave Figurine with Slave Collar", I would have a problem with that, every bit as much as I would have a problem with a "Jew Concentration Camp Victim" figurine, for example.

        Now you might argue that kids would "learn about history" from that too; maybe you'd be up for the whole "Nazi Gas Chamber Play Set". But placing these things in the right historical context is not something that cannot be done by just throwing a toy out there for kids to play with; they cannot get the background, or understand why the world got to the place where jews were being exterminated in death camps or black people were being bought and sold as slaves by playing with figurines. Personally I don't think kids should be exposed to certain bad ideas until their education gets to a certain stage.

        1. chivo243 Silver badge

          Re: Common Lego !!

          When I saw the picture they were on about, I thought that he doesn't look that dark, no darker than any other person who has been in the summer sun for weeks on the ocean. There were summers when I was a child that I looked much darker than said Playmobile guy.

        2. NumptyScrub

          Re: Common Lego !!

          I'm not generally one of the PC brigade, but in this case I think they should pull it. The "context" is not attached to the figurine; at the end of the day, that is a black slave toy with a slave collar around its neck. If it was on its own in a box labelled "Black Slave Figurine with Slave Collar", I would have a problem with that, every bit as much as I would have a problem with a "Jew Concentration Camp Victim" figurine, for example.

          Have you noticed that the pirate captain model (30 00 9632) is apparently female? 30 00 9612 has the exact same skin tone as 9622 but no slave collar, so it would appear to be a pirate crew of the oppressed, possibly fighting against "the man" and liberating the downtrodden on the way. It'll be an easy sell if your child asks awkward questions, anyway ;)

          Anyway, I give it 10 minutes before some kid puts the captain hat on 9622 "because it looks better" and the collar either gets lost or put on some other model entirely. Kids don't care about social justice undertones, they just want cool pirate models that have swordfights and dig up treasure. And can fly, for some reason. And sometimes have laser vision.

          Kids are pretty cool :)

          1. Old Handle

            Umm, about that

            I was intrigued by the fact that every little bit (including the slave collar) has an ID number and decided to see if it was part of any other sets or available separately. It seems not. But I did along the way discover that the female (?) pirate is bare-chested and covered with tentacle tattoos. Not that I personally have a problem with lady pirates dressing that way if they want to.

        3. 2+2=5 Silver badge

          Re: Common Lego !!

          > ... I would have a problem with a "Jew Concentration Camp Victim" figurine, for example

          Prepare to be offended.

          http://raster.art.pl/gallery/artists/libera/libera_lego.htm

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Common Lego !!

        as they ARE going to pull them off the shelf, I think it's best to buy the remaining stock while it lasts, as it's going to be one of those "collectors' items", fetching $$$$ on ebay and auctions. Who needs stock exchange, when you can have playmobil...

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: Common Lego !!

          >"as they ARE going to pull them off the shelf, I think it's best to buy the remaining stock while it lasts, as it's going to be one of those "collectors' items","

          Well according to Amazon this particular version of this toy has been on sale since 15-Aug-2011. I suggest this speaks volumes for just how observant people in general are and specifically the PC brigade.

    3. WonkoTheSane Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: Common Lego !!

      Pretty sure Playmobil is not owned by LEGO.

    4. Calum Morrison

      Re: Common Lego !!

      Lego? It's Playmobil FFS!

      1. Known Hero
        Facepalm

        Re: Common Lego !!

        I would like to apologise for calling it Lego. It looked like Lego and it triggered that name recall for me although the article CLEARLY states playmobile !!

        I would edit my post but alas it is noticed to late !

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Common Lego !!

        Playmobil are German. A sensitive and considerate, but robust culture.

        The internet makes claim that at some point, Playmobil considered a set of Chinese railway workers (for the wild west theme?). They don't do the Roman theme anymore, perhaps it had a crucifixion set.

        1. Michael Habel Silver badge

          Re: Common Lego !!

          Perhaps a bit too considerate of late. Thankfully some of those in Power like Mr. Seehofer, are getting becoming more sensitive to the concerns of his constitutes. Merkel on the other hand needs to go.

    5. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: Common Lego !!

      Terrible how people discriminate against BDSM preferences these days....I hope she is ashamed of herself!

    6. zebm

      Re: Common Lego !!

      Wrong sort of sailing ship but you could have Barbary pirates, who were Moors and used to go slaving by raiding the West country of England.

    7. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Re: Common Lego !!

      Stick it on the white guy and have a giggle.

      And much more apt. There were far more non-black (e.g. white) slaves than there were black slaves - call them "indentured servants" or whatever you want, they were still slaves. However that doesn't ring well with the popular culture that (evil) white people raided Africa and made away with black slaves. The fact that the European powers tended to buy the slaves from black Africans (i.e. they sold their own countrymen or enemies) or that black slaves were apparently treated better and were more valuable than white slaves because they were harder workers doesn't matter jack. There are also a lot of stories where the slave owners treated their slaves very well indeed, much better than is usually portrayed - discovering this kind of humanity makes for some good reading even if they make for appalling popular culture.

      History. Sometimes it's quite interesting to read what actually happened and its comparison to popular or hollywood culture.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Common Lego !!

        I think it is pretty well known that slavers bought some slaves from black Africans. So what? It was still enslavement of a human being by the purchaser. The involvement of a middle man doesn't change that!

        There are "some stories" where slave owners treated their slaves very well indeed, are there? But not well enough to employ them as free individuals with the same human rights that the owners enjoyed, presumably?

        I'm not sure what point you are trying to make; slavery wasn't so bad, or we've all been duped into thinking slavery was mostly about owning black people?

        I think history is pretty clear that slavery was overwhelmingly about base exploitation of human beings for economic gain, but I look forward to your ground breaking treatise explaining that's not the case...

        1. Fraggle850

          @AC Re: Common Lego !!

          I suspect that the somewhat rambling comment was to try and put slavery in its historical context and it is true that people at the bottom of the heap were often treated badly irrespective of whether they were tradeable property or not. The particulars of the European trade in slaves between Africa and the Americas do make it a special case though, it being a perfect storm of European colonial expansion and industrialisation meeting a pre-existing slave trade in Africa and causing it to expand massively. This resulted in unfathomable levels of misery and abuse, as well as massive demographic change as black Africans were shipped to the other side of the world. Given that the history of slavery led to segregation in America, and that this was only ended in living memory, with the black community in America still suffering from poor treatment today, it is fair to say that this particular period still resonates today. We all need to know our shared history in order to learn from it and grow together. It's the f*ckers that run things who would screw us all, always has been, always will be. If we all stand together and maintain vigilance we can try to mitigate their effect.

          I've not touched on Britain's part in all of this: I'd be writing (even more of) an essay!

          1. x 7

            Re: @AC Common Lego !!

            Go back and read my earlier post

            The fact remains that the early history of the USA was based on WHITE slavery. The Spanish took prisoners of any colour to use as slaves. The British transported "criminals" on any pretence for use as forced labour. Non-conformists were criminalised and transported. Ireland was subject to campaigns of deliberate depopulation, with the residents forcibly shipped to the USA and Caribbean to work on plantations. "Indentured servants" were shipped to the USA on terms so strict that the workers could never earn their freedom: for instance becoming pregnant extended the indenture time by ten years, and with the indentured woman being at the beck and call of the master, not many avoided continual pregnancy. Many white women - indentured or Irish - were forced to become brood mares to negro studs, in an attempt to "improve" the black slaves. And lets not forget why the negroes were imported anyway: because the white slaves died too quickly under the conditions on the plantations. The blacks lasted longer. Thats why you hear so much about black slaves and not white: the blacks managed to live and have offspring......

            And again I'll repeat what I said earlier, the Americans were happy to take slaves from wherever they could find them. Thousands of Chinese and Japanese women captured in the home nations with the connivance of their governments and shipped to the west coast as enforced brothel workers. Chinese coolies tricked into railroad or mine work for virtually no pay, with enforcers set to ensure compliability. On the east coast, a massive racket bringing eastern european Jewish women into the country on false pretences for use as sex slaves (how little things change.....compare with the eastern european sex slave problem now).

            Slavery in the USA wasn't a black issue. It was a multi-ethnic issue. Its just that the blacks (a) were more visible and (b) tended to survive the plantations better, so more lived to tell us about it.

      2. chivo243 Silver badge

        Re: Common Lego !!

        What if there were no african slaves, that Western Whitey only used white slaves? How would have the past 300 or so years have played out on a social scale.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: Common Lego !!

          >How would have the past 300 or so years have played out on a social scale.

          There would be no Usain Bolt...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Common Lego !!

            "There would be no Usain Bolt..."

            And no crappy Quorn adverts. I can't quite see how wheeling in an emaciated foreigner helps them sell fake meat!

  2. Trollslayer Silver badge

    Thinking

    Is definitely a novel concept fro that Merkin.

    If some child asks what that is and gets told then they learn more about history.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Thinking @Trollslayer

      No, people like her that are easily offended and wear that like a badge of honor, think too much, continually looking for some idiotic object of her ire and raising false outrage when they do.

      Of course they only think about the divisive but "politically correct" bull sh@t that is ruining this world.

      Then there are people like you that are seemingly just as "racist"; singling out an entire country and all its people for criticism while burying your collective heads in the sand by censoring history in the guise of being PC.

      A pox upon you sir.

      1. Roger Varley

        Re: Thinking @Trollslayer

        Probably to be quickly followed by a claim for compensation for her emotional distress .......

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Thinking

      Historical resemblance IS INTENDED.

      History needs to be learned AS IS and not EDITED and ERASED. There is no bigger crime than erasing and editing history.

      In war there is only one bigger crime than the war crimes - it is the erasure of the traces of the war crimes so we do not remember what has happened. Similarly - the biggest crime against slavery is the politically correct cleansing of everything to ensure that the kids do not learn from an early age who was in the shackles and how did they look like.

      Because: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Thinking

        > There is no bigger crime than erasing and editing history.

        I see what you are trying to say, and I almost agree with your sentiment, but you need to give it a little more thought.

        Actually committing genocide is a significantly worse atrocity than covering up the evidence of genocide.

        1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: Thinking

          "Actually committing genocide is a significantly worse atrocity than covering up the evidence of genocide."

          Indeed, which is why the chap who asked "Who now remembers the Armenians?" gets rougher treatment than the people who forgot the Armenians. (Idle thought: would it be true to say that this quote is now what most people think of when anyone mentions the Armenians? Is the fact that everyone forgot actually more memorable? That would be ... odd.)

          I also almost agree with what Voland's appendage was saying but I welcome your nit-picking.

      2. lucki bstard

        Re: Thinking

        Its not a war crime if you are an American. If your US then bombing a hospital is an 'accident' not a war crime. Chances of any US person facing charges before a court, zero.

        I'm waiting for the 'It was an accident the pilot was only obeying orders' defence next.

        1. 404 Silver badge

          Re: Thinking

          The American Political class you mean - we have Army Rangers being brought up on charges for kicking Afghani pedophile ass since 'we're not there to judge Islamic culture'.

          Don't blame the pilot.

          1. lucki bstard

            Re: Thinking

            'Don't blame the pilot.' - It was a reference to the doctrine of command responsibility - ie the Nuremberg defence 'I was only obeying orders'. A defence which was rejected by groups including the US. Hopefully you appreciate the hypocrisy of most US by reflecting on your post.

            Try thinking in future, it will hurt you at first but then you may find it makes your life more enjoyable. Either way the US still provides the best level of 'how not to do it' to the world.

      3. R Callan

        Re: Thinking

        Thinking? Yes a distinct lack of it. Every culture and society on Earth has engaged in enslaving other people. The colour of the victims has never been a part of it. It seems that one of the reasons the Romans invaded Briton was to obtain a source of slaves. Anyone was at risk of being enslaved, even Julius Caesar!

        All of those poor African slaves that were transported across the world were captured and enslaved by other Africans for sale to the really nasty Europeans. Who are therefore the worst?

        Which peoples finally decided that slavery was not really a good idea? That's right, the nasty Europeans. Slavery is still going strong in many non-European cultures.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You can be offended by anything

    If you try hard enough.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You can be offended by anything

      Dear Sir,

      I'm offended by your comment!

      Regards

      Ivor Bigge

      1. ManfromPem

        Re: You can be offended by anything

        Sir

        I must take exception to your comment. Being offended at the comment is the very reserve of those members of the easily offended from SelfRighteous land of which, I believe sir, you are not a member. Your offence offends me.

        Regards

        Ivor BiggerOne

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You can be offended by anything

      I've tried long and hard to be offended by that, twisted it around, probed it from every angle, and just when I think it's getting there, nothing happens. Sorry.

      Plenty O'Toole

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: You can be offended by anything

        I, sir, am offended by your lack of offence. I now need counselling - you should have given a trigger warning

        Yours

        Hugh Janus

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: You can be offended by anything

          I am offended by the very concept of people taking offence, including the offence I myself have taken at the concept.

          Is this the right room for an argument?

          - Sue Donym

        3. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You can be offended by anything

      Dear Sir,

      I am thoroughly offended that these figures are all male.

      Jenny Talia

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: You can be offended by anything

        Dear Ms Talia

        Are you suggesting there should be female figures? What about some non-binary gender figures?

        Sincerely

        Hugh Nuck

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: You can be offended by anything

        As a person with a learning disability, it used to annoy me no end the do gooders who were ready to take offence on my behalf.

        I used to make a point of referring to myself and similar using all the nastiest terms to mess with their heads. If idiots calling me retard didn't faze me, why the hell does it faze others?

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

          Re: You can be offended by anything

          Fucking do-gooders, hangin's too good for 'em.

          Fuck 'em, fuck 'em hard, with a red-hot branding iron. Then piss on them.

          Jenny Tools.

  4. Hairy Airey

    Interesting complaint

    This is a pirate ship! They used an official distress flag (the Jolly Roger) to lure their victims.

    Surely you should be questioning why you're condoning piracy on the high seas, before getting onto why they might put any of their crew in shackles?

    1. Known Hero

      Re: Interesting complaint

      I have to agree 100% with that sentiment. I am actually having to teach my kids that pirates are actually some of the worst members of society, they are under the impression they were just a jolly bunch of sailors.

      1. moiety

        Re: Interesting complaint

        In Spain, they get taught in History that Our Brave Boys (Francis Drake and the like) were the pirates. Totally different perspective from what I was taught in school in England. The game was the same...a boatful of murderous bastards; irrespective of which state sanctioned them. And of course, the independent contractors caught most of the historical flak because their spin doctors aren't as good.

        Some things don't change much. Although boatfuls of people tend to be a bit less murderous these days; which is good.

        1. Kamal Hashmi

          Re: Interesting complaint

          Erm, yes we were the pirates... (it's like our destroyers being self-funded by doing of bit of free-range piracy - like the Somalians, who only took it up when the rich nations nicked their fish...)

      2. h4rm0ny

        Re: Interesting complaint

        Then you may be over-simplifying what you are teaching your children. They weren't random scum who suddenly decided to steal for a living, for the most part. Press-ganging was common for much of what we consider the pirate era in the popular mindset. Pirates could be and often were, people who had been abducted from the streets and forced into a country's navy against their will. On a successful mutiny, they may well turn pirate with some legitimacy - they now had a death sentence on their head anyway. And many pirate crews were actually fairly egalitarian and run as collectives. They could even, occasionally be quite progressive in terms of sexual equality (occasionally). Look up Anne Bonny who was a female pirate captain. They were certainly on the whole more racially tolerant. The times that pirates lived in (if we're talking Johnny Depp stuff) were not equitable times where they acted out of casual desire to steal for a living instead of working.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Interesting complaint

          Remind me, wasn't press ganging also a favorite trick of Her Majesties Navy before and during the revolutionary war? Weren't a large number of "pirates" actually operating under charter of the British Navy?

          1. moiety

            Re: Interesting complaint

            Yep.

            1. Fraggle850

              Re: Interesting complaint

              Also, didn't the royal navy used to accept escaped slaves as free men if they made it to a navy ship and joined the crew? IIRC there may have been black people serving at trafalgar who joined up in this manner.

              Complicated times with different moral standards and very high levels of poverty and social injustice.

              I personally tend towards the view that the issue at hand is cultural differences between Germany and the USA. The character portrayed is obviously a free crew member and does provide a point of entry for discussion of such matters. I suspect that a slave turned pirate in the eighteenth century would have considered himself to have advanced himself.

              1. Mark 85 Silver badge

                Re: Interesting complaint

                There were indeed a very mixed crew on the English ships (and all other nations) at that time. I have book about the Billy Ruffian that discusses one of the Captains surveying his crew. The mix of nationalities and races is quite eye-opening. The author believed that this was the norm for all navies of the period.

              2. Cryo

                Re: Interesting complaint

                "I personally tend towards the view that the issue at hand is cultural differences between Germany and the USA."

                No, it's more a case of social media enabling anyone to make nonsensical claims to get their moment in the spotlight, and news companies jumping on any sensationalist story that gets picked up, however absurd it actually is. I'm pretty sure no one is actually really offended by it, even if they might claim to be to get their name in the news.

          2. AndrueC Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: Interesting complaint

            Yep.

            As opposed to privateeye which is either a humorous magazine or a citizen performing the duties of a detective :)

      3. maffski
        Pirate

        Re: Interesting complaint

        I am actually having to teach my kids that pirates are actually some of the worst members of society

        But they actually did protect us from global warming, actually.

      4. AndrueC Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Interesting complaint

        ...they were just a jolly bunch of sailors.

        Who liked watching movies and playing computer games?

  5. lawndart

    Just include a set of clip on nooses for the entire crew.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      ... and throw in a few other BSDM artefacts, that's gonna pacify the indignant (oh, the idignity!) mum.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge
        Childcatcher

        >and throw in a few other BSDM artefacts

        No no no! You are going to confuse the children if you do this. In support of the enhanced sex education that some "responsible" adults seem to want to impose on Primary children (unfortunately they are also in positions to effect this change), I'm sure Playmobile will bring out the BSDM dungeon set...

  6. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

    A quick glance

    should be enough to ascertain that the figure is supposed to be a former slave. I fail to see the problem with this; the toy is from a (romanticised version of) a period where people were held captive as slaves. The figure in question is clearly not a captive. Is this complainant claiming that it is wrong to acknowledge that slavery happened in the past? I might remind her that those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A quick glance

      Came here to say exactly the same thing - He's at the top of the mast with a treasure map and a pistol pointing the way forward. The neck piece is also removable so he clearly wears it for decoration only.

      1. moiety

        Re: A quick glance

        Could be a historically-authentic forerunner of rapper bling.

  7. James 51 Silver badge
    Pirate

    If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him.

    Cardinal Richelieu

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      p.s. If not, I have a sword.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lego goes real-world

    You should see the "Tory Play Dungeon" set!

    Neck shackles are the least of the problem.

    Oink!

    Snort.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
      Gimp

      Re: Lego goes real-world

      Surely the oranges would be so small they would keep getting lost*?

      *I suppose you could stick them somewhere for safe-keeping.

  9. Rob Crawford

    She spent ages looking for things to be offended by

    So how is it racist to acknowledge that slavery existed in times of yore and that very often the slaves where not (for want of a better term) white.

    Surely it would be racist to pretend that such things never existed.

    I'm sure the collar would have fitted on a more pinkish tinged figure, but the ship doesn't look very Turkish.

    Then again it may also represent that he may have been locked up for being a criminal, before cries of racism tuen up, please remember that pirates where in fact viewed as criminals, particularly amongst those that they robbed, kidnapped, raped and killed

  10. Chris G Silver badge

    Democracy

    The Pirate Brotherhood was apparently a quite successful democracy with ele ted leaders and accepting anyone as crew regardless of race or creed.

    They would also.quite happily use anyone as a slave .

    Somewhere at home I have an old book the original.of which was written in the 19 th century, many runaway slaves were accepted according to this book, sorry but I cant remember the title.

    It would make sense that a runaway slave might still have shackles of one kind or another.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maybe

    She could swap it for a cowboys and indians dress-up kit.

    I preferred doctors and nurses myself, still do.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Maybe

      Always preferred the (female) Nurses myself. Much better uniforms than doctors.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Maybe

        Re: Maybe

        You wore uniforms?

  12. moiety

    Couldn't she just emancipate the crew member and not put the bloody collar on? Put it on one of the white guys if that make her feel better.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Simple solution ... while retaining historical accuracy (from a different period) change the pirates into Arabs and the slave to someone from SW England, S Wales or Ireland .... and then wait for the reaction.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The Barbary pirates slave raided Ireland, quite far along the South Coast & Reykjavik - not counting the numerous ships taken. The US marines theme song is about putting down this slave trade

  14. Joe Werner Silver badge
    FAIL

    What worries me more:

    "I spent the weekend putting it together."

    What? If one of my parents (in fact: anybody) had dared to interfere with the putting-together I would have been really mad (ok, that was mostly LEGO, and that is kind of the main fun part. And disassembling it, and building a trebuchet or onagar to bombard your brother's new castle). Why do parents think they have to put stuff together, robbing the kids of some of the joy? I mean, ok, help the kid if he / she is not able to do it. In fact, my niece asked me once to set up the... Barbie (or whatever) doll house. It was fun (and would have been better with less pink, but I disgress) and I actually made her do most of it.

    About the slavery stuff: Meh, put the collar onto a Chinese Playmobil figure, or a red-headed witch ;-) or the captain, does he look "caucasian" as the 'mericans say? (Side note: I still wonder about that description, I am described by them as "caucasian", which is totally wrong, I do not look like I am from the Caucasus mountains. But then that is a country where an "entrée" is a main dish). I can of course see some of the problems there, the intolerance that was (and still is), the bad parts of history, etc.

    1. Naughtyhorse

      Re:"I spent the weekend putting it together."

      retards offspring retarded

      film @ 11

    2. nijam

      Re: What worries me more:

      > ... the intolerance that was (and still is) ...

      Her complaint is today's example of that intolerance.

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

        Re: What worries me more:

        The only thing a tolerant society should not be tolerant of is intolerance.

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: What worries me more:

      "What? If one of my parents (in fact: anybody) had dared to interfere with the putting-together I would have been really mad "

      I came here to say the same thing. The whole bloody point of these toys is for the kid to build it themselves, play with it, then re-build as something else.

  15. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge
    Coat

    I demand....

    ...a Playmobil reconstruction or it didn't....er...OK...as you were....

  16. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Isn't that a sex slave?

    It gets lonely on the high seas! ARRR!

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Isn't that a sex slave?

      Roger the cabin boy?

      1. magickmark
        Pirate

        Re: Isn't that a sex slave?

        @ TRRT "Roger the cabin boy?" Or Master Bates the First Hand?

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: Isn't that a sex slave?

          Seaman Staines.

          1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
            Pirate

            Re: Isn't that a sex slave?

            The Captain had a daughter,

            she fell in deep sea waters,

            delighted squeals revealed that eels

            had found her sexual quarters..

            all together now...

            fr...

            1. TRT Silver badge

              Re: Isn't that a sex slave?

              Arrr. Number One's on the poop deck.

            2. DiViDeD Silver badge

              Re: Isn't that a sex slave?

              Or......

              She was only the rear admiral's daughter,

              But her naval base was always full of discharged seamen.

              Ah, many thanks to ISIHAC! I think this may have been one of Mr Cryer's

  17. Harry the Bastard

    avast, lubbers ahoy!

    arrr!

  18. nsld
    WTF?

    Its ok

    Not sure why the NAACP is getting in a tizzy, the pirate figure "identifies" as being white so its all good.

    After all, whats good for the NAACP is good for all!

    Nothwithstanding that both Piracy and Slavery are a part of history and trying to whitewash them out of history shows a level of stupidity and ignorance that forms the real problem we face in society today.

    The stupid woman has clearly been beaten around the head with a large twatspanner.

    1. Velv Silver badge
      Pirate

      Re: Its ok

      "The stupid woman has clearly been beaten around the head with a large twatspanner."

      She's a Merkin. Two immediate thoughts go through every Merkins head in everything:

      1. how has this injured me; and

      2. how much compensation can I claim

      (Point to note for any Merkins reading. I know you now feel offended, tough, I have no money so don't even try)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Its ok @Velv

        I am an [A]Merkin, and I can confidently attest that I have no thoughts going through my head, immediate or otherwise.

        But I'm not really sure where I was going with this.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: Its ok @Velv

          >"But I'm not really sure where I was going with this."

          Best see your lawyer, they will advise you as to what thoughts should have been going through your head and who you can sue, now that you know what you should of been thinking.

          And if you are very lucky they might just do this on a no-win no fee basis, otherwise it looks like you've just extended your working life by ten years just to pay the lawyer their consultation fee...

      2. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: Its ok

        I'm a Merikin also. The only thing that offended me was your spelling it "Merkin". Ok... the mom and the NAACP offended me with their blatant stupidity. I'm waiting for Al Sharpton and Obama to chime in.. then the offense will be lifted to new heights.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So, remove it then...

    Has she taken this one -- in her eyes -- offensive figuring out of the set? Perceived problem solved. Or is it easier to make a big political correctness fuzz about it than to take a single figurine away from her son?

    <sarcasm> All pirates where obviously white, and no black slaves existed during that (or any other historical) period. </sarcasm>

    The thing with history is that we should learn from it, not pretend it never happened.

  20. TRT Silver badge

    I think the offended woman has missed the point...

    Being told that this used to happen, that slavery was a real thing and that many, many black people were treated as less than human, is all well and good. It should happen. It should be taught that it was and is wrong. Fine.

    The issue here is that kids are being actively told to clap the guy in irons. They are partaking in the action of it rather than being a passive spectator. Is it different? I think so. Is it any more wrong than giving them cap guns? Does that prime them to go out and handle weapons, purchase guns, use guns, treat guns as toys? I don't know.

    I'm kind of divided on this.

    1. bigtimehustler

      Re: I think the offended woman has missed the point...

      So you think her kids will grow up putting irons on black people because of this? Come on! its crazy!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I think the offended woman has missed the point...

        A new profession: Ironclapper

        Did anyone complain about the presence of Playmobil Native Americans? Weren't they all terrorists that had to be exterminated at great cost to the newly unitary/federal/Lincolnized/proto-fascist nation? Where is the outrage??

      2. TRT Silver badge

        Re: I think the offended woman has missed the point...

        Of course not. Don't take it out of context. But understand that "play" is a preparation for the real world and that motor memory and participatory memory are different to the more detached "academic" memory. No one would believe that using an easy bake oven will make her kids into proto-Paul Hollywoods, or that my daughter will become a nurse or a doctor because she used to give injections to her toy cats. I really don't know what effect it could have. We used to do horrible things as kids. Pulling wings off flies as a kid, or the legs off spiders or burning ants with a magnifying glass. Don't think it's turned me into a raging psychopath.

        Do you think that it's not a concern that the exposure to societal biases will perpetuate them. Ban the Daily Mail! But seriously, are you concerned about childhood experience? I'm not saying this is in the same league, but for example religious radicalisation of youngsters. It's not a black and white area, it's a gradient for sure, but where do you draw the line? What about the perceived bias of American police when it comes to prejudicial racial profiling? Or even our own police in the UK? Where did that come from, what do you do about it?

        Consider, it's a decorative component and was it really a necessary part of the set? Like I say, I'm divided on it. I don't want to be reactionary, but I do question the wisdom of it. Storm in a teacup? Seems that opinion on here is that she's blowing it all out of proportion, and yes, she is, or is that a media reaction, or is it the only way to get your concerns heard nowadays?

        1. lucki bstard

          Re: I think the offended woman has missed the point...

          I'm more concerned by your waffling. Maybe think about what you are going to say rather than pontificate . The phrase verbal masturbation comes to mind.

          1. TRT Silver badge

            Re: I think the offended woman has missed the point...

            I'm just not comfortable laughing this one off as a hysterical over-reaction, OK? I've a gut feeling that there's something not quite right about it; I just can't quite rationalise it which is why I'm having trouble putting it into words.

    2. grumpyoldeyore
      Coat

      Re: I think the offended woman has missed the point...

      Ah for a gentler time when toy were toys.

      http://www.eastoftheweb.com/short-stories/UBooks/ToysPeac.shtml

      Mine's the Edwardian smoking jacket.....

    3. Dan Paul

      Re: I think the offended woman has missed the point...

      Oh stop please, my 4 year old GRANDSON picked up a stick on a hike just the other day and promptly held it like a gun and went "Bang".

      ANY kid will do that. and there is damn little that anyone can do except put your kids in a bottle and not let them out until they are 30. And that would be a huge mistake.

      There is NO "active participation" in something unacceptable here, you are grasping at straws.

  21. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Here's an idea: just don't put the collar on the doll.

    When we gave my daughter the Inuit sled set (Canadian market exclusive I think) we removed the flensing knives because at five she didn't need to deal with Just in Time seal butchering, especially as the (Playmobil) seal was a favorite toy.

    1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      Re: Bah!

      "Just In Time Seal Butchering"...an excellent name for a rock band

  22. The other JJ

    We never had this problem with Meccano

    ...or indeed Lego or Playmobil in the days before themed sets, when what you created was all down to your imagination.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: We never had this problem with Meccano

      I still have my Meccano lynching rig and my painted black Action Man.

      Would be joke icon -->

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: We never had this problem with Meccano

        I think you are being deliberatly offensive here.

        Can we change the discussion to the newly discovered epidemy of College Rape?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: We never had this problem with Meccano

        "I still have my Meccano lynching rig and my painted black Action Man.

        Would be joke icon -->"

        You really should have posted that under your handle. It made me laugh and upvote points won't tally on your account...ah well

  23. Grikath

    National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

    Campaign for Equal Heights, anyone?

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    a dark-skinned figurine with a shackle around his neck

    cause it never happened. And if it happened, it should not be used to allow children to re-enact such horrors, God forbid! Likewise, pirates and them Redskins! No, damn it, forget the redskis, they were the good guys, the other side was the nasties, those, them what'd'y'call the boys in blue... I know, I know, the imperialist British army who came to our land to oppress the indigenous tribes!

    And as we come to this, Lord Vader, fate on the skip of history you meet at last!

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: a dark-skinned figurine with a shackle around his neck

      When I was a child my "western" Playmobil alter ego and his "indian" Playmobil friend were usually chasing (and usually killing, yes, I have to admit) bad guys together, both pale and red.... there were also often a Calamity Jane like character helping them (as long as I coud "steal" a female one from my sister's sets, she didn't like them using guns and rifles) .... thereby I guess it's not what's in the box, it's what you were taught...

  25. ukgnome
    Childcatcher

    Won't somebody think of the children....

    When I was one, I sucked my thumb, the day I went to sea

    I climbed aboard a pirate ship and the captain said to me

    I’m going this way that way, forwards and backwards, over the Irish Sea

    A bottle of rum to fill my tum, now that’s the life for me.

  26. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

    why on earth would she buy a pirate toy for her 5-yo kid?

    Her kids are probably gonna grow up to be the menace the RIAA and the MPAA warned us about.

    1. moiety

      Re: why on earth would she buy a pirate toy for her 5-yo kid?

      They'll be downloading cars and who knows what other shenanigans. Irresponsible parenting.

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

        Re: why on earth would she buy a pirate toy for her 5-yo kid?

        "They'll be downloading cars"

        and copying handbags as well no doubt!

        1. Midnight

          Re: why on earth would she buy a pirate toy for her 5-yo kid?

          And then shooting a policeman, stealing his helmet, going to the toilet in it, sending it to the policeman's grieving widow, and then stealing it again.

          1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: why on earth would she buy a pirate toy for her 5-yo kid?

            For anyone who doesn't get the reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALZZx1xmAzg

  27. Amorous Cowherder

    My understanding was that it was liberated ( ransacked ships ) and escaping slaves who joined pirate crews, considering it better to die as a pirate and free than as a slave. Many slaves were considered equal within pirate crews. Slaves would sometimes be captured and sold on as slaves by pirates but a lot were set free and offered places on ships.

    So it's perfectly accurate that this slave figure should start off as a slave and then be liberated! Political Correctness was a such a good idea ( ie, end use of racist slurs, stop racism in the media and workplace, etc ) , sadly a load of whining maggots have abused it and it's now nothing but a beaten and broken shell of what it should have been.

  28. Anonymous John
    Coat

    Playmobil reconstruction, or it didn't happen.

    Oh.

  29. lucki bstard

    Why do the US population still have to indulge in the orgy of political correctness. Slavery has never been restricted to black people and the US; and guess what still happens today.

    Maybe when they learn that there is a world outside the US they can do something about existing slavery rather than wallowing in self pity.

  30. The Vociferous Time Waster
    Headmaster

    Revisionist

    Meanwhile they're now removing the Auschwitz chimneys from the new holocaust toy range.

    1. TRT Silver badge
      1. John Savard Silver badge

        Re: Revisionist

        Ah, yes. And that previous incident involving a diplomat; why hasn't the United States firmly told Sa'udi Arabia to waive diplomatic immunity and ship him back to India - unless they'd like to be on the receiving end of a regime change?

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My outrage is up to you...

    For my self-fulfillment, it's important I get regularly shocked, dismayed and outraged about things, especially if others are shocked, dismayed and outraged too.

    But as essentially my opinion is formed by my peers, and I am too busy to find out the facts (if there are any) myself, I am unclear whether I should be whipping myself into an indignant frenzy about whatever this article is about or not. Should I be calling for something to be banned or not banned, or should I be calling for someone to call for something to be not banned or banned or changed or is this discrimination, and if so, by who against who, and must something therefore be done? Well - you can see my predicament. I'm confused, and the Internet needs to know this right now.

    Please, as a matter of extreme urgency, can you downvote this post if I should be getting outraged, and upvote the post if I should just get on with my life, such as it is. If I get no votes I will instead write a long, impassioned, misguided, yet sadly self-centred blog post about the whole shameful incident. If it is indeed shameful. The Internet needs to know and I am the voice to tell it.

    1. lucki bstard

      Re: My outrage is up to you...

      'I am too busy to find out the facts' - Are you missing the joke icon? If you can't be bothered to look up facts how come you can be bothered to post?

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: My outrage is up to you...

        I think the joke icon is there, but the fashion in UI design these days is for visual cues to be completely transparent.

  32. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    I get outraged too. Most recently over a copy of the official BBC Goon Show episode involving the intercontinental ballistic NAFFI.

    What happened to Prime Minister Seagoon's greeting to his butler G. Thynne, which used to go: "Ah Grippipe! Dearest friend, sincerest critic and author of Ten Years As A Russian Spy At Number 10"?

    I know because they rebroadcast the episode in the 70s and I taped it. On the new "remaster" the language offensive to our new Russian friends was strangely absent.

    It made the following joke in which Seagoon had his photo taken by Thynne while posed holding the NAFFI plans up in front of his face a bit pointless.

  33. Whiskers

    Confused

    So is piracy OK so long as the pirate isn't an escaped slave? Or is it black pirates that are objectionable, or male ones?

    The costumes look to me like 18th century 'Barbary Coast' fashion, in which case the white female captain is more than likely to have been enslaved at some point after being captured from the west coast of (mostly Christian) Europe or Britain or Ireland by the (mostly Moslem) African pirates (with whom the USA negotiated one of their first foreign treaties after successfully fighting for freedom from the protection of the British Royal Navy they resented helping to pay for).

    There's a lot of real and relevant history that could be learned from this kit - if only the adults knew some of it.

  34. John Savard Silver badge

    Next Step

    What I want to know is when The Register will stop using Playmobil to illustrate humorous articles, in order to avoid being branded as a sympathizer towards racism!

  35. x 7

    Americans tend to forget that the early days of their country was very much based on white slavery.

    A large proportion of the early settlers were indentured "servants", kept in conditions where they were never able to buy out their contract, transportees, or forcibly displaced Irish who were regarded as sub-human workhorses.

    Indeed many white Irish women were forced into becoming slave breeding stock, being selectively mated with the supposedly bigger, more powerful blacks in an attempt to breed "white intelligence" into superior black muscle power.

    Of course much later you have the large numbers of Chinese imported to the west coast to work in mines and railways, and the many thousand of Chinese and Japanese women imported as forced brothel workers with official state sanction. Equally a large part of Jewish immigration from Europe was of Russian / German / Polish women imported as sex slaves for the eastern sea ports.

    No-one denies that black slavery was large scale and unpleasant. But white slavery was at times equally present and equally unpleasant - it just happened to be less visible due to the victims skin colour

  36. Old Handle

    I don't know if Playmobil ever does this, but it might have been a good idea to include a little "bio" on each of the characters, in this case explaining the other pirates freed him from a slave ship and offered him a place on the crew, or whatever.

    Other than that I can't think of anything they could have reasonably done differently to avoid offense, aside from just pretending slavery never happened of course.

  37. Michael Habel Silver badge

    Such a shame Pink Floyd are no more.

    'Cause Pigs on the wing.

  38. chivo243 Silver badge
    Trollface

    Phone-fondling docs, nurses sling patient info around willy-nilly

    This woman needs to get a look at what else playmobile can do... This article's playmobile mock up will give her something else to get worked up about.

  39. John Savard Silver badge

    Further Reflection

    While this story may sound ridiculous, remember that Playmobil is a toy for very young children. And a young child is still developing his personality and self-esteem. So for the mother of a young child to argue that it is much too early to expose a young black child to the fact that during a big chunk of history - say from Ancient Egypt to World War II - black people were widely regarded as inferior or even less than fully human isn't completely unreasonable.

    Racist, though, is the wrong word to describe it.

  40. Graham Marsden
    Boffin

    It is her right to be offended by something.

    She does *NOT*, however, have the right to *NOT* be offended by something!

  41. Kernel Silver badge

    It would be more to the point

    if the lady put her efforts into fighting modern slavery.

    I read a National Geographic article a few years ago that covered a world wide survey on the level of slavery - the conclusion was that by far the biggest slave-holding is still in the southern part of the US, where illegal migrant workers get a very raw deal - and investigating law enforcement agencies seem to regularly raid the wrong farm, or forget to file some crucial piece of paper, ensuring the evidence gathered is inadmissible in court.

  42. John Robson Silver badge

    The bigger problem:

    "He was excited when he recieved it and *I* spent all weekend putting it together"

    Surely that should be a "we" spent half an hour putting it together and the rest of the weekend playing with it?

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: The bigger problem:

      I think this is a real world example of adults playing with children's toys, as per the "The Lego Movie" (2014), namely: They built it together and briefly played with it, but the child then moved on and invented new play scenarios (sign of a good toy if a child plays with it for more than an hour or so), but the adult had to constantly interfere and re-assemble the pirate ship, because it's a pirate ship and not a dragon's spaceship etc.

      Also this gives us an insight into the mother, as it would seem from her own evidence that she only spotted the issue when "she'd wrapped the construction" ie. put it back in the box at the end of the weekend.

      1. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: The bigger problem:

        I sometimes try to build one of the "official" designs of lego that we have, but it never lasts long... about 5-6 pieces is a good run (excluding when *I* get bought lego, in which case it gets completed at least once before being distributed into the kids lego box...

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