Walmart has apologized to a Black mom in Kentucky after she said Black dolls were priced much higher than white ones. Asheria Brown of Florence, Kentucky, called out the national retailer after her oldest daughter went searching for a Kid Connection Doll set, WCPO Cincinnati reports. Because Brown wanted her daughter to have more exposure to dolls with their heritage, she sought out the same set with Black dolls and noticed a price difference.
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“She picked out the white one, with all-white little babies in the store,” Brown told the outlet. “So I went home and went to Walmart.com and found one set in white and one in Black.”
When she looked at the prices, she noticed the Black set was significantly more expensive than the white one.
“They were 14 dollars and 97 cents more expensive than the white babies I saw in the store,” she said.
“There are seven Black babies and there are seven white babies,” Brown added. “But one set is $39.97, the other is $25.”
Walmart responded to Brown with an official statement from a spokeswoman, according to WCPO.
“The price difference in the two items was the result of price changes made systemically. We lowered the price on a select group of toys, including only one of these dolls, to help drive sales. Unfortunately, we overlooked the impact these changes would have on similar items whose price did not change. This was an unintentional error on our part and we sincerely apologize to anyone it may have offended,” the statement read.
“Walmart is a firm believer of diversity and inclusion. As a company, we are investing resources and developing strategies to advance equity for all within our walls and society,” it continued.
According to WKBW Buffalo, a similar issue happened in 2014 when a father found that Target was pricing their dolls of different races differently.
“When my daughter asked the question, ‘Why is the black doll more expensive than the white doll?’ I really didn’t have an answer for her,” Warren Johnson said at the time.
He continued, saying that the escalating racial tensions of the moment made him uncomfortable with the inconsistency on the site.
“It kind of rubbed me the wrong way in light of all the things going on in our society right now,” he said.
Target attributed the price difference to a “systems issue” and quickly changed the pricing of both dolls to make them equal.