Monday, February 3, 2020

MSU apologizes over display of Black dolls hanging from a tree in gift shop

Posted By on Mon, Feb 3, 2020 at 10:15 AM

click to enlarge Display of Black dolls hanging from a tree at Michigan State University. - KRYSTAL ROSE DAVIS-DUNN VIA FACEBOOK
  • Krystal Rose Davis-Dunn via Facebook
  • Display of Black dolls hanging from a tree at Michigan State University.

Michigan State University has apologized after its gift shop kicked off Black History month by hanging Black dolls from a wooden tree display.

A photo of the offensive display began circulating on social media over the weekend. Paula-Equality Jackson and her friends were outraged when they spotted miniature dolls depicting prominent African Americans hanging by yarn from a wooden cutout tree.

“I felt nothing but disgust, rage, and sadness,” Jackson wrote on Facebook, saying she and her friends “were ignored” when they asked a cashier about the display. “We all stormed out, and talked for a good 20 minutes on how this was a blatant display of racism and how we can come up with solutions to 1. Recover from what we just encountered. But 2. To make sure we were all ok.”

In a statement Saturday, MSU apologized and said book store employees and volunteers would receive racial bias training “that focuses on the impact and understanding of intentional and unintentional racial bias.”

“We sincerely apologize to our community members and have immediately removed the display,” MSU spokeswoman Emily Gerkin Guerrant said in the statement. “We have work to do, and MSU remains committed to creating a culture that is inclusive and safe for all faculty, staff, students and visitors. As we enter Black History Month, it’s important we not only recognize the many contributions of African Americans, but we remember history and confront all bias.”

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