An online community of Christian social justice advocates is pushing for Fisher-Price to adjust the race of Mary and Joseph in an upcoming children's Nativity toy set.
Faithful America, the "largest online community of Christians putting faith into action for social justice," has promoted an online petition asking that Fisher-Price change its depiction of Nativity characters to match their Middle-Eastern origins. According to Faithfully America, this portrayal of the Nativity as full of White people "fuels White Supremacy."
"Most of the time we only see white Jesus," the Rev Nathan Empsell told Religion News Service. "and every new image of white Jesus just reinforces that. We're not making these toys in a vacuum, they're adding to all the other toys and every church painting and every Renaissance painting that already exists," Rev Empsell currently operates as the executive director of Faithful America.
The petition notes that historians and advocates have made the case that portraying Jesus or members of the Bible as white has been used historically to claim that "white is best." The reverend also says that he has heard from several POC Christians that they rarely see portrayals of Christ as a POC and wish to see that changed. This simple change on Mattel's part could be a start.
Faithful America has already reached out to Fisher-Price and its parent company Mattel with their request, says Empsell. The company seems receptive to their request. However, nothing has gone public regarding when the product could change.