"Um. Are These All the Babies You Have Left?"

So funny, so sad.

Elna Baker, an aspiring actress in New York City, worked at FAO Schwartz to make ends meet. She was hired to play a nurse in an elaborate toy demonstration to get little girls to ‘adopt’ expensive realistic ‘newborns’ the store was selling.

One day, an MTV reality show filmed a segment there. The toys got good play. Rich moms and their spoiled daughters from the Upper East Side flooded the store. They just had to have one.

And then the store ran out of white babies…

[From This American Life, Act Three: “Babies Buying Babies.”]



Gene "G.D." Demby is the founder and editor of PostBourgie. In his day job, he blogs and reports on race and ethnicity for NPR's Code Switch team.
  • This story reminded me of the types of stories (or narratives) in Derrick Bell books, only set in a toy story.

  • GVG

    I think i’ll have to get back to you on this one. My heart is pound, but i honestly can’t figure out why. I know this to be the reality in which we exist, so why am i so disheartened?

  • GVG

    May i suggest telling your readers that the story starts at the 41:05 mark of the podcast so they know they’re listening to the right thing.

  • Tabitha

    So I’m working on this show that shall not be named. In one of our segments, we have to find a large black doll to avoid those pesky child labor laws. During the discussion about the shoot, the entire room turns to me and asks: where can we get a black baby doll?

    me:um… i don’t know. i’m an adult. i don’t play with dolls just b/c they’re black.

    later that day- the PA on the show tells me, i’ll call my old roomate. she collects all kinds of weird dolls….

    me: *blank stare* is the doll weird b/c she’s black?

    him:… uh, i didn’t mean it that way.

    since living in hollyowood, i’ve taken to provoking racial situations just to make ppl uncomfortable.

    i’ll actually get around to listening to the link above when i have a day off.