Among the hundreds of Barbie models existing from its inception to date we can find many things, the problem is that in its first forty years and, perhaps without ill intention, in some cases white supremacy came to light and that created controversy.
In the mid-90s, the American Stories Collection special edition line was launched, representing those women who emigrated from Europe to America and those who were already there. The two American Indian editions were accompanied by a baby emphasizing motherhood but instead, in the pioneering Caucasian versions, Barbie was portraited as an entrepreneur and a loving and compassionate patriot.
All were accompanied by a mini comic that, in some cases, spoke of stories of empowered women who opened their own store or who worked as nurses during the Battle of Gettysburg, but in them, in general, a point of view of white supremacy was implied, for example in the story Feast of Friendship.
In the Pilgrim Barbie booklet she arrives in America aboard the Mayweather with the concept in her head that Indians are savage and is even surprised that Squanto is "the wisest man she has ever met." And, why wouldn't he be? While it talks about friendship with Indian culture, it also does so with a white focus. In the end (spoiler beware) there is no interracial love story as perhaps the adult reader expects during the short course of the comic and the aim of the booklet is to explain the Thanksgiving story, concluding that American Indians and newcomers became friends and omitting all the later drama.
And it is that with the filter of time we see those stories with a slightly racist and a little sexist tinge. For example, in the Colonial Barbie comic she explains the declaration of independence and invites the girls of the town to embroider a quilt for the celebration. Only the girls ...
But don't raise your brows so fast, Mattel did a lot of things right. Since their beginnings in the mid-twentieth century, they were known for not discriminating neither by gender nor racially among their workers, in addition to giving Barbie friends of different ages, genders and races, even giving her the possibility of represent other races. This, surely, must not only be for economic purposes but it is important to highlight the good and bad things in the Barbie world, not as criticism, but as a window to evolution. While it's true that Mattel has always created controversial lines, perhaps without malice, it's also true that it has listened to the voices of those affected and has taken note of the error so that it does not happen again in the future. In this way, removing or correcting lines to rectify in future lines gives the possibility to "educate" those who had not thought that could be offensive.
At the end, the pioneers of this Special Edition American Stories are beautiful dolls dressed in calico, a fabric originating from India that arrived in Europe and that these women took to new lands for its freshness, lightness and practicality where hard work awaited them and not all was the sweetened version that we see in the comics.