Have you seen this Playmobil pirate ship thing? Usually when a mother cries insensitivity about some toy her kid is playing with my first thought is “Calm down. You haven’t been damaged and neither has your kid.”
And I’m not even mad about this one because I know Playmobil didn’t mean it to *exactly* look like it looks. But it’s damn funny how many committees it probably got through before reaching the toy store shelves.
So Playmobil puts out a really cool pirate ship toy. Included in the toy is one character who’s a little darker than the others. And he comes with a neck shackle.
Read that again… The toy comes with a neck shackle. Now, regardless of the company’s intent, no toy should come with a neck shackle unless it’s the Playmobil Ponyboy Playset or the Duplo My First S&M set.
Playmobil’s explanation is that the character is a former slave who is now a crewman on the pirate ship. Let’s see…
- If he’s now a freed slave, wouldn’t have someone taken the shackle off his neck? Or does he continue to wear it as an ironic “taking it back” kind of statement?
- Do our Playmobil toys really need that in depth of a back story? Is the Captain of the ship avenging the death of his gay lover? (Hello Black Sails fans!)
Playmobil would have had to include a fairly thick book with the toy explaining why this character has a neck shackle. The toy is for ages 4-10. And every four year old has a detailed knowledge of the early 1800’s slave trade and it’s effect on piracy. So no worries there.
What else is Playmobil hiding?
Maybe we should start looking into their other toys. Does the Playmobil Tactical Unit Helicopter come with a handcuffed Cuban drug kingpin character? Maybe the Playmobil Falcon Knights Troop comes with a small collection of subjugated Muslims.
Bonus! I just saw that the pirate ship toy comes with working cannons that shoot tiny cannon balls. Because 4 year olds never put things in their mouths.
Here’s my advice… If your child has a Playmobil pirate ship, buy them something new and put the ship on Ebay. The price is about to go through the roof when these get pulled off the shelves.
PS…. We talk about the right way to use pirate characters to educate children on this episode of Under The Crossbones.