Barbie’s latest vlog unpacks racism in a two-minute video that is so simple, both children and your racist uncle can understand it.

Like any modern vlogger, Barbie’s channel depicts her in dance battles with Ken, doing makeup tutorials for various special occasions, and learning how to tie-dye clothing. Since Mattel launched her career as a content creator in 2015, Barbie has also vlogged about difficult topics, like mental health and adjusting to the new routine of quarantine. She’s even challenged her young female audience to resist the impulse to say sorry just for existing in a patriarchal world. 

For her latest vlog, she didn’t shy away from discussing an especially timely topic: racism. 

The year 2020 will, of course, be remembered for the pandemic that confined most of us to our homes, but it also brought about a worldwide push for a more equal society inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. Following the death of George Floyd, a Black man who was killed by a white police officer in May, Americans took to the streets to protest systemic racism and police brutality. This summer saw historic turnout for peaceful protests, but the fight for a more just world will take longer than a few months of rallying. 

Which is where Barbie comes in. She invited Nikki, another character in the Barbie animated universe, to discuss her experience as a Black girl living in the United States. 

“Millions of people across the world are standing up to fight against racism, and they’re doing this because too often, and for such a long time, people have been treated unfairly,” Barbie says in the video posted Wednesday. She adds that even though this topic isn’t easy to talk about, they have to talk about it. 

Then she hands the reins over to Nikki. 

“I, and so many other Black people, have to deal with racism,” Nikki says. “All the time. It’s really hurtful, and it can be scary and sad.”

Nikki’s experiences echo ones all too familiar to people of color, especially Black people, in the United States. She recounts a time when she and Barbie sold stickers on the beach. While Barbie was able to sell her stickers without issue, Nikki was stopped by beach security three times. In another anecdote, Nikki remembers a French teacher dismissing her perfect test score as getting “lucky,” because she couldn’t possibly speak French that well. 

“Usually when I talk about these things, people make excuses,” Nikki continues. “People did these things to me because I was Black, and they made the wrong assumptions about me.”

“They don’t make those assumptions about white people, like me,” Barbie adds before summing up white privilege in a single sentence. “That means that white people get an advantage that they didn’t earn, and Black people get a disadvantage they don’t deserve.” 

Then Nikki calls on the audience to stand with protestors against racism. Barbie notably calls out those who’d rather stay quiet and be complicit: “When we don’t say anything, we’re just letting it continue.” 

The vlog quickly went viral on Twitter and TikTok. Users praised Barbie for explaining such a delicate, but persistent concept in a way that anyone could understand. Many also noted that Barbie didn’t speak over Nikki while she shared her experience, or make excuses for white people. 

The episode was co-written by Andrea Walden, who also writes for Disney Jr. and Nickelodeon. In a statement emailed to Mashable, Senior Vice President Lisa McKnight, who’s also the Global Head of Barbie & Dolls at Mattel, acknowledged the character’s huge platform and unique reach to a young audience. 

“We made a commitment to the Black community to leverage our global platform, including Barbie herself as a YouTube vlogger, to tackle important topics such as racism,” McKnight said. “Being an ally includes having difficult conversations to better understand discrimination, so we hope that by leveraging Barbie and Nikki to explore these conversations in a kid-friendly format, we can spark productive discussions for families and empower our next generation of leaders to become advocates for change, raising their voices against racism.” 

At least we know that if Barbie is ever canceled, she won’t put out a half-hearted Notes App apology. 

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