Playmobil pirate ship includes dark-skinned doll wearing "slave collar"

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FWIW, the existence of former slaves on pirate ships is a really interesting thing! I hope this mom and this kid go research the trans-Atlantic slave trade and why the pirates where in the Carribean now!

Okay, maybe not the best idea to go all historical accuracy on a playmobil pirate thing, but I kind of appreciate that now!


I am offended by this toy that makes me think about slavery. What will my child think… that people were enslaved?


Playmobile is made in Europe, who I am sure isn’t as sensitive to the subject as the US. It is possible they meant for it to be a prisoner taken for ransom or something. I dunno.

Not sure it is really appropriate for a toy… yes it has historical roots, but would I want my kid playing with an Auschwitz playset or something? Personally I’d toss the neck thing and let the kid have at it. Of course the whole modern concept of pirates is mostly a sanitized fantasy.


If the company uses this as argument - why didn’t the WaPa show the box?


Huh - he has the map, so he’s the navigator!

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I look forward to @FFabian’s opinion.

ETA: what’s up with instagramming her son looking distraught?


I sometimes wonder if 100-200 years from now narco-terrorists will be considered romantic figures…



To some, I think, they already are. (It’s just like the thing with the mafia)


While this may be a kerfuffle I may not be particularly outraged by considering some amount of nuance, this is absolutely a garbage argument you’re trying to make. Not being “sensitive to the subject of slavery” doesn’t justify Zwarte Piet and similarly-beloved characters.


Here are the listings for Pirate, black shaggy hair, torn yellow striped shirt, bare feet and Necklace, choker, 1 bead on “the unofficial Playmobil marketplace”.

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Well, they’re pirates! They got guns, and cannons, they murder people and kidnap them for ransom. Kids love that stuff.
This is actually a progressive game, you can play free-the-slave (but you can’t un-murder people).


They already are.

I’m not making an argument. Simply pointing out why no one in the design, creation, and marketing of this item didn’t at some point think this might not be a good idea. That either the idea of a slave figure wouldn’t be appropriate, or the idea to include and accessory that could be construed as a slave.

For sure racism exists in Europe, but they deal with it differently and have different sensitivities to it. I won’t say they lack social awareness, but it is different. Trevor Phillips of the UK has an interesting documentary out there by the BBC that talks about race relations in the UK and it is an interesting contrast to the US.

Absolutely. That’s a thing:

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I find it amusing that pirates are a subject of fun and entertainment today. In real life, back in their day, pirates were loathed and feared. So romanticizing them and turning them into entertainment seems to me like having a Disneyland ride called “Osama Bin Laden and the Terrorists of the Middle East”.

I do imagine in real life, that not only did escaped slaves become pirates, but pirates also trafficked in slaves. Maybe a more realistic Playmobil set would have several hundred little toy slaves with little slave collars stacked up like cordwood in the hold…

Not nice, or politically correct, but neither were pirates.

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I want a playmobil set with modern, Somalian pirates :confused:


Is the captain really the whitest guy on the ship?

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Even if progressives only bought sets of unpainted blocks for their children, the shapes would be somehow problematic.