Are Lincoln Logs Racist? (Why Do People Think They Are?)


Are Lincoln Logs Racist?

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Lincoln Logs have faced quite a few controversies over the years but the most recent one is in regards to racism. 

Although Lincoln Logs have been around for decades some people equate them with racism because of some events that have transpired using them. 

As reported by the Los Angeles Times, a nine-inch tall cross made of Lincoln Logs was burned in front of the house of a black family back in 1990. 

The deputies found that there was a possibility that “skinheads” were behind the awful crime.

A set of miniature logs were found at the house of alleged suspects, and eventually they pleaded guilty to charges for the crime. 

That is far from the only reason why some people feel that Lincoln Logs are racist however. 

Some people believe because of their mere existence over the last century that they are racist because many people of that time were as well… but is that true? 

Are Lincoln Logs really racist just because some people have used them for horrible things? 

Lincoln Logs are an inanimate object and therefore cannot in and of themselves be racist. They have been used by people in the past who were racist for horrible purposes but that doesn’t make Lincoln Logs themselves racist. 

If you are concerned about supporting a company that has had racist issues in the past then there are actually quite a few companies that you will have to boycott. Many companies that are still in business today have horrible racist pasts but that doesn’t mean the company or the products are still like that today. 

Quite honestly many of the cities in the USA have many prominent leaders from the past that were absolutely horrible people (and that’s not just in the south either). 

Ultimately, although there is no strong tie between Lincoln Logs and racism, only YOU can make the decision if you want to avoid them or not. 

Lincoln Logs were invented by John Lloyd Wright back in 1916. He was the second child of Frank Lloyd Wright, a well-known architect so it makes sense that he made toys about building. 

Although there were no specific claims behind the intention of their toys, the inventor and his products were the talk-of-the-town in the history of the toy-making industry. As far as anyone knows, neither Lincoln Logs or their creator was overtly racist (although many people from that age were at least somewhat racist). 

Despite all of this, some people continue to push the myth that Lincoln Logs are racist despite the lack of evidence showing that they are or ever were. 

If after reading the above you are still interested in getting a Lincoln Log set, you can find the most popular ones by clicking here. 

Important Facts About Lincoln Logs

Now that we’ve covered whether Lincoln Logs have a history of racism or not, I want to dive into some other important facts about Lincoln Logs. 

They brought modern toy marketing into the industry 

When Frank Lloyd Wright revealed his toy patent, other manufacturers like Playskool realized that newfangled television mediums could provide the same spark for their product ads.

Pioneer Playhouse and Davy Crockett were the ‘50s first featured toys proving the efficiency of television marketing.

The campaigns resulted in a massive sales boost. Many manufacturers then followed the popular marketing strategy and came up with their own versions of ads. 

It’s one of the oldest building toys still in production

Up until today, there are only two toys that pre-date Lincoln Logs that are available on the market. 

The first is the Erector Sets that were produced in 1913 and the second is Tinker Toys that were built around 1914.

Other collections, like Meccano in 1898, also ruled the toy market since its release and even gobbled up the success of the Erector Set model from 1990.

Lincoln Logs has been a popular toy brand for several generations and will likely continue to be in the future as well. 

They only use real wood for a better playtime experience 

People enjoyed the wood Lincoln Logs for 50 years. Even with its successful run, they decided to change the material to plastic in the 1970s. 

Unfortunately, customers were not happy with the new material and virtually no one bought the plastic miniature logs.

The drop off in sales made them instantly realize that replacing the wood with plastic was not a good idea so they quickly reversed course and started making them from wood again. 

The Lincoln Logs original wood design resurfaced into the market and the customers began to get drawn to the toys again.   

Their building turned out way cooler than the building that inspired them 

One of the most impressive toy designs of Lincoln Logs is the Hakone Pavilion. The inspired place is located in the south of Tokyo, Japan.

With 589 logs, Lincoln Logs managed to form the building not needing any metal joint in the structure.

Each log is intricately notched to serve precise angles and lay across the figure perfectly. 

They could be compatible with Legos

Lincoln Logs has a Free Universal Construction Kit, which contains over 80 adapter pieces.

Using a basic 3D printer, the pieces can be produced to offer more expansion options in terms of age and physical limits.

This cross-breeding Lincoln Logs kit was not fully introduced back then, but it could be an alternative for those who’d like to try the diversion of building toy pieces themselves. 

Top Controversial Children Toys 

Although there has been some controversy surrounding Lincoln Logs, they are far from the only toy that has had controversy. 

Some of the most controversial toys over the years have been:

Mattel’s Gender Stereotyping Barbie Book 

Known for majorly offensive generalizations about women, Mattel has even repeated  the same mistake over and over in many different products.

Even though they are aiming to sell equality, their books say otherwise. A notable faux pas committed by Mattel is in their book “Barbie: I Can Be a Computer Engineer.”

At first glance, the title seems like a women empowerment gesture, but what stirred a couple of controversies was really inside the pages. 

The book contains Barbie trying to design a game. A few parts went well until Barbie says she needs Steven and Brian’s help to do all the programming jobs.

The cringe scenario was even stretched out in the scene when she was sending her designs to the boys and accidentally triggered a virus on her computer.

Kids, especially young girls who are fond of science, could easily discover the book, which may plant a discouraging message into their minds.  

Little Too Lifelike Pretend Toy

Pretend toys stimulate kids’ minds about life skills and experiences. Yet it doesn’t have to be scary and unnecessarily graphic. 

A Play-Doh set called Doctor Drill ‘N Fill is an eerie replication of a dentist’s office visit. Children will get a patient’s head and use a battery-operated drill to clean the cavities and brush the teeth as well.

This toy set, however, is surprisingly a delight to some parents. Some of them left reviews of the product and recommended it to other families.

It may be a nightmare for several households, but it also had perks that some people liked as well since it was so lifelike. 

Sin City-Inspired Disturbing Toy 

The To Death Row Marv Deluxe Box Set, spreads an entirely new dark vibe. The inspiration for this toy was a not so child-friendly movie Sin City.

This set has a button where you can see the character’s eyes light up when the electric chair switch is pressed.

Other purchasers defended the product as ‘not a children’s toy’ in the first place. However, it is still in the form of a toy which is where the controversy came from. 

So regardless of the audience types, death should never be something funny nor exciting that kids could possibly play with. 

Body-Shaming Book

The Western world has a pretty high number of obesity cases. Although diet is one of the solutions to such crises, it is not a sole, direct, and solid one to aid many children’s health.

The “Maggie Goes on a Diet” book however, tries to imply exactly that. Although the book might not have bad intentions they certainly should have thought before making this incredibly controversial one. 

The author quickly jumped head first into controversy when Maggie goes on a diet, does exercises, and later on, is transformed into a ‘normal-sized girl’.

The writer might have meant well but honestly… this is a book that should never have been written. 

Conclusion

Building toys like Lincoln Logs have proved to be a positive experience for millions of kids around the world.

But because things can be used for hideous doings, the manufacturer is also a victim of the racism tag by some people despite there being no real profit that Lincoln Logs or their  creator were racist. 

Whether you choose to buy Lincoln Logs (or these other controversial toys) is totally up to you as ultimately you have to make that call for yourself. 

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