I just watched an absolutely shocking video on Ria Rodriguez’ blog AfroRomance.
In the 50’s just prior to the lifting of segregation of blacks a study was done using black children as the test subjects. Each child had two dolls placed in front of them – one black and one white. Unsurprisingly for the times when questioned which doll was their favorite, or which was the good doll the children overwhelmingly chose the white doll.
Now, a high school student, Kiri Davis, who happens to be an aspiring film maker has made a short 8 minute documentary in which she did the same study over again with young black children. You must watch the short ABC video on Ria’s Blog. I’d love to hear your opinion, or better yet leave a comment for Ria as well.
The results of her study are shocking! The black children again chose the white doll as being the good doll, the “better” doll, the one that they’d most want to play with. Why? One child replied “Because she’s white”.
What does that mean when young black children in the year 2006/07 still think that a white doll, and likely therefore a white person is better? Are there still such racial issues out there that I as a white person am not seeing or feeling as much as black people and others who are not white are experiencing?
Now I live in Canada, and I know this is not a perfect Country by any means, but I do think that there are less racial issues here in the majority of cities than there are in the USA. I’m not saying there aren’t any at all, but I think there are less issues to deal with here than in major US centers like LA, New York and Chicago.
When I was a little girl I had many dolls to play with. Do you know which one was my favorite? It was a little Eskimo doll. Why? Well I am part Native Indian and this was a doll that looked the most like part of my heritage. Which again is why I’m totally astounded that the young black children in this short documentary didn’t identify with the black doll as being most like themselves and therefore “better” than the white doll.
All I can think is that it’s not necessarily true racial issues that have made these young children state that the white doll was better than the black doll, but the media influence that is all around them today. The commercial world is still a white world. Toys made for children are overwhelming based on white society. Television shows, commercials and even video games are based on white culture.
What would happen if this study was done with young white children? Frankly I think the results would be the same. Why? Well, the white children would be identify with the doll that is most like themselves and their culture. Plus, I think, that considering todays media and commercialism is based on white society that would also influence their decision.
Am I wrong?
What do you think? Lets get a discussion going about this.