Doc McStuffins


An African-American doll, Doc McStuffins, has risen to the top of the doll market, selling $500 million units last year.

As an observer of race in American culture, I have an exuberance and unbounded joy at the broad success of the young Doc; more so, when I recall the protests against the dolls and video games that pandered and reinforced offensive stereotypes a few years ago—the games awarding points and levels for violence and thuggery. Because dolls are the companions, friends, and playmates of children, this quiet movement by children clearly shows a new generation sees race differently and are willing to have race-enriched experiences. The requests by children to be photographed with a child whose color adds authenticity to the character tells us the acceptance is inclusive, real, and honest—and supported by parents.

Yet (with more caution than cold water), I recall the long legacy of commercial successes in popular culture by African-American products and characters: the dance, the Charleston; another doctor, Cliff Huxtable; many more, and realize these successes have to deepen our understanding and empathy for the history and challenges of others. Many great conversations and play sessions can begin with Doc McStuffins’ back story, including barriers that children recognize she may have overcome, and they can tell how in stories springing from their own hearts and minds.

I hope the young Doc has siblings that branch out into other careers and an extended family that is multi-racial. I would love to be a part of those family dinners; I’ld bring Lexie, my daughter’s Cabbage Patch kid.

Loopholes and Wealth

 Corporations hate taxes. They look for legal loopholes. The great irony is that global trade and financing agreements depend upon US law; for finance, New York State; for governance, Delaware, and claims filed by a variety of suitors and plaintiffs end up in US courts.

Even cases tried in London and the Hague are often tried under the compelling US stature. These same corporations that use loopholes for tax avoidance, turn to US laws and courts for full protections in cases of dispute.

That’s having it both ways.

But the details described point to a larger challenge: the subtle undermining of global sovereignty by scattering operations so one set of national laws apply–in fact to find locations networked together so as few laws as possible apply.

Apple is a prime example; its cash-on-hand (cash!) make it the 55th largest GNP among the world’s nation-states; that’s the total economic output and production of these states in all sectors.

Seen through the lens of political economy, the US offers several large loopholes, but America is simply first among equals. Whether among the states or among nations, the corporations have a global bazaar of benefits, some of which benefitted a former US Presidential candidate.

Surprisingly, many saw nothing wrong with a sovereign leader parking money overseas, following the path of dictators and tyrants who used power for greed.

The party that nominated that candidate sits in a majority in the House and will block any effort to change loopholes. It weakens the nation to empower wealth.


A New Collection of Dorothea Lange’s Photographs | Dorothea Lange Southern Photographs, 1933 – 1939

8b33728v (3)For a remarkable look at pre-recovery conditions during the Great Depression, see this collection of Dorothea Lange photographs; more than 200 across 11 states.

The photographs provide a unique, long witness across several states
during difficult economic times by a single onlooker who is observing the world and its people and conditions with a powerful, constant eye.

“Even the spare, minimalist portraits Dorothea Lange sets on the stark geography of fertile fields have a pull beyond their obvious irony and harsh details.

The photographs display best in Adobe Digital Edition (a free download).