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Why Is Black Barbie Priced Differently Than White Barbie?

By: Krystle Crossman

Barbie is a household name. The dolls are sold all over the world to adoring little girls who take care of them, name them, and love them. There are many different kinds of Barbie dolls that depict different occupations and ethnicities. The problem is that there seems to be a discrepancy when it comes to the dolls that are of a different race. Walmart has two different ice skater Barbies listed on their website. The Caucasian version of the doll retails for $9.88. The African-American version of the same exact doll however is $11.87. Why would one doll cost more than the other when the only difference is the skin color that she has?

Walmart said that the pricing was a mistake and they have since corrected it, pricing the dolls at the same dollar amount. They also offered up gift cards in the amount of the difference to anyone who purchased the more expensive doll. Walmart is not the only retailer that has these price differences either. Toys R Us has the African-American Barbie on sale for $10.99 while the Caucasian Barbie is sold for $14.99. After this was brought to the retail giant’s attention they stated that they try to price them the same across the board and that this was an oversight and will be corrected.

Target had the biggest discrepancy of all with the fashion design Barbie. The Caucasian version cost $23.49 while the African-American version was selling at $49.99. Again once it was brought to someone’s attention everyone was told that it was a system error and that it would be corrected. Both are now on sale at the website for $20.99.

All of the blame cannot lie on the shoulders of the retail stores alone. Mattel which is the company that makes the dolls, sets their prices for the stores. They refused to comment when they were approached by CNBC on the matter. Thought the price ranges differ one thing remains the same across all of these retailers. No one had an answer as to why there were differences. They all blamed it on a system error.

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