Sunday, August 13, 2006

Choose the one that is most like you...

Sister Liz posted on this article from BlackAmericaWeb about a young 17-year-0ld filmmaker and her project, “A Girl Like Me,”:

One part of the film that has lots of people talking is the re-creation of the doll test that psychologist Kenneth B. Clark used in the landmark Brown vs. Board of Education case.

Individually, 21 four- and five-year-olds from a Harlem day-care center sat at a table with two dolls, one black, one white. Fifteen of the 21 children selected the white doll as the “nice” doll and the black doll as the “bad” doll. In one scene, Davis asks a girl to choose which doll was most like her. She hesitates a bit, touches both dolls, then pushes the black doll forward.

Hmmm. That doesn't settle well with me for obvious reasons. At the same time, I think it would overly simplistic to suggest that the children's opinions are merely the result of media influence. I would love to see this same study replicated specifically with a control for socioeconomic status and parenting style.

If you've had the misfortune of being exposed to parents whose idea of correcting their children consists of phrases like, "What's wrong with you?! Why are you so bad? You get on my nerves," than you're probably aware what an effect such comments can have on a child's mind. FURTHERMORE, if they included children whose families use the terms "good hair" & "bad hair" and talk about dark skin disparagingly in the same group with those whose families/communities do not, the results might show a bit more of an overall negative skew than should be considered a broad-based and general conclusion.

It would also be interesting to do a study like this with dark skinned children in other countries where "light" is typically considered "right." Does anyone know of any? EDIT (Studies in other countries)

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Not sure if your question is rhetorical or not?

If you're serious, then....

Most countries in Africa, Asian and Latin America.

t.HYPE said...

My bad, I was asking if anyone knew of studies. I'll edit that...

Anonymous said...

Are you kidding me? You need to get a history book first. Everything you "critqued" was accounted for in that study. 1950s America for Black children had little to do with parenting skills and more with their parents being killed, oppressed, and jerked around on a daily basis by their White neighbors and the US goverment on the county-city-state-federal levels. Their schools were third and fourth world at best eventhough their parents paid more taxes than the whites on the other side of town with the new books and prestine class rooms. Oprah Winfrey would still be down in Mississippi struggling if it weren't the impact this study made in the Brown vs. Topeka BOE case...Recognize Mr. "Blackness"

Sister Liz said...

Uh oh. Lol. Now I've down upon you the wrath of the mysterious angry bloggers! LMAO!!!!

t.HYPE said...

Sister Liz, I'm sensing a pattern here...

See, I would let it go if that poster seemed like they had read the post properly! [HELLO! I'm talking about something that was done this year--not the study in the 1950s--which, if you read about it, the researcher began studying in the 1930s...]

Basically, all I'm saying is, ok, we've got these results but no one's given a satisfactory answer as to why. I've worked with preschool age children in a couple of different settings. If children have deep-rooted self-esteem issues at an early age, typically, meeting their parents will tell the whole story. Period.

Free said...

I saw this docu. & the "doll test" just broke my heart. The saddest part was when the one little girl declared the Black doll "bad," then had to admit that the same doll was the one who looked most like her...

You make a good point about having a more controlled experiment, but the one shown was at least a start for discussion.