eBay Offensive Materials Policy updated for Black Americana

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There has been a steady stream of eBay sellers in the US complaining that their Black Americana listings have been cancelled by eBay. Now, eBay have announced an update to their offensive items policy to include Black Americana items that are discriminatory.

In the light of #BlackLivesMatter, many are re-examining norms which need to be adjusted. There is no point complaining that your items reflect history in a world where the slightest offence will be massively highlighted and so eBay are now banning products that could be percieved to portray negativity or stereotypes based on race or ethnicity, such as items that use caricatures or demeaning portrayals which may be seen on dolls, figurines, housewares, historical advertisements.

Let’s get serious about this – there was a time when it was perfectly acceptable to give children a ‘Golly’ rag doll and they were once so popular that it was considered a great marketing idea for Robertons’s Golden Spread marmalade to adopt one as their mascot – you could even collect coupons for an enamel pin. Most people today would acknowledge that this is totally unacceptable. In the same way products in the Black Americana category that have in the past been deemed acceptable are deeply offensive to some parts of society – just because someone is willing to sell it and someone else is willing to buy it doesn’t mean that on balance it’s ok and so eBay are evolving their policies to reflect the world we live in today.

If you sell Black Americana products, you’ll be well aware that in 2015 eBay decided to prohibit the sale of confederate flags and many items containing the flag image, because they believed it had become a contemporary symbol of divisiveness and racism. If you sell Black Americana products you will need to reassess your stock and decide what is suitable to sell and what may be more suitable for destruction.

7 Responses

  1. When I sold ‘Golly’s in my physical shop up to a couple of years ago they were very popular and the only people who complained were pink liberal’s. They were especially popular as funeral effigies amongst non pinks (a.k.a. White)
    It is wrong that we should want to re-write or even eradicate history to suite a few uneducated people.
    Blasted Phoenician/Greek/Roman/African slavers, look what they did!!

  2. Racism is very bad and promoting racism is very bad.

    That said…

    Attacking anything and everything which could be considered offensive only shifts focus away from the serious issuess which need to be addressed. Keep focus on these serious issues and allow some room to learn from our history, the good the bad and the ugly.

    Also consider subjectiveness, just because someone feels offended does not automatically mean it is wrong, racism or meant to be offensive.

    And ebay (and other companies) jumpin on this bandwagon, spare me the hypocracy. If this was done for ideality reasons it should have been done a long time ago. It’s just a cheap way of branding and stepping in the spotlight with an easy score.

  3. A lot of companies now seem scared if they don’t put something out there or they will be attacked. Read on Instagram the other week trolls complaining of silence from John Lewis as they had not posted anything in support. Comments such as I will never shop in your store again. Have they ever shopped in the store in the first place?
    I wonder if they realised that the CEO of John Lewis is a black women.

  4. Rob, you’re not permitted to either assume her possible birth gender nor any other potentially racially identifiable attribute. Have you not been on the ‘course’ yet? Ergo one must think, write and act in the third person bearing the former in mind.


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