On a diverse episode of All Sorted Jeff and James:
Ask if all LEGO people are yellow
- LEGO minifigs are yellow because, (according to LEGO via Gizmodo.com)
- “When the minifigure was first introduced 30 years ago, it was given the iconic yellow skin tone to reflect the non-specific and transcendental quality of a child’s imagination.”
- The first LEGO humans were white:
Find the first yellow “skinned” LEGO people
- The first yellow “skinned” LEGO people were brick built:
- With only grey, black, red, yellow, green, blue, and white available, LEGO designers chose yellow to represent the skin tone:
- Samsonite makes a set that utilizes a colour other than yellow for skin:
- 3 Little Indians (1964)
- Three brick-built figures with yellow outfits and red skin.
- This set was manufactured by Samsonite and only available in the USA
Look at the first moulded LEGO parts specifically made to build people
- LEGO introduces the Maxifigures in 1974
- LEGO breaks away from their now established use of the yellow skin tone with the release of:
Rely on our non-specific and transcendental quality of imagination
- The modern minifig makes its debut in 1978 and everyone is yellow again
- By this poin LEGO had the capacity to make minifigures any skin town, but intentionally chose yellow.
Watch LEGO make dolls with (very limited) racial diversity
Put the idea that yellow minifigs can represent any race to the test
- In 1999 LEGO signed a licensing agreement with Lucasfilm and Star Wars
- Yellow skinned minifigs of many characters without any issues:
- Harry Potter followed in 2001
- Yellow skinned minifigs versions of:
- In 2003 LEGO signed the NBA, and now, suddenly, using a universal yellow skin tone wasn’t good enough anymore:
- Once LEGO started using the “natural” skin tones for the NBA players, they started to incorporate them into the other licensed lines.
- Set 10123: Cloud City
- This set, in my mind, proves that LEGO never saw the yellow skin tone as representing any race other than white as all the white characters have a yellow skin tone, and the lone black character is in a “natural” skin tone
- LEGO had many opportunities to make a Lando minifig before this set, but chose to make the following sets without including a Lando:
See LEGO give us a wide range of Friends to play with
Finally, we ask
- Is LEGO doing enough to promote ethnic diversity?
- Would you like to see more skin tones in your LEGO sets?
- Do you wish LEGO stuck to yellow minifigures only?
- Do you even see this as an issue?
- Let us know. Please leave a comment, or hit me up on twitter, I’m @StillSorting.