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What can we do to help black children with their self esteem? Why is white still more beautiful?

50 years ago Psychologist Kenneth Clark conducted the doll test that was used to help make the case for desegregation in the landmark case Brown v. Board of Education. In the 1954 test,Clark showed children a black doll and a white doll and asked black children which doll they preferred. The majority chose the white. The findings were not surprising for the time. In the summer of 2005, Kiri Davis, a high-school teen, sat with 21 black kids in New York and found that 16 of them liked the white doll better.

"Can you show me the doll that you like best?" Davis asked. The girl picked the white doll immediately. When asked to show the doll that "looks bad," the girl chose the black doll. But when Davis asked the girl, "Can you give me the doll that looks like you?" the black girl first touched the white doll and then reluctantly pushed the black doll ahead.

Today my African American daughter pointed to white doll.

Answer Question

Asked by 35yoamom at 9:04 PM on Aug. 22, 2010 in Politics & Current Events

Level 20 (10,016 Credits)
Answers (50)
  • Well maybe the white doll did look better? I mean were the dolls exactly the same just different colored or were they totaly different dolls?

    Answer by Liz132 at 9:07 PM on Aug. 22, 2010

  • Well my daughter always chooses black dolls and Asian dolls what are you saying about her?

    I see nothing wrong with one race liking another race colored doll more.

    Answer by mommy_of_two388 at 9:08 PM on Aug. 22, 2010

  • If white is more beautiful, why do some many Caucasians spend so much time and money trying to darken their skin? I think because historically in the US there were more Caucasians than people of color, more emphasis was placed on white folks, in the media and what not. I think self esteem issues affect everyone in one way or another. Find the strengths and focus on those things. Everyone does something well-


    Answer by Sisteract at 9:10 PM on Aug. 22, 2010

  • The dolls were exactly the same just the hue was different

    Comment by 35yoamom (original poster) at 9:11 PM on Aug. 22, 2010

  • black girls try to bleach their skin or black kids pick white dolls as a better-looking toy, it is merely a reflection of the societal stereotype. This stereotype is continually reinforced.

    Comment by 35yoamom (original poster) at 9:12 PM on Aug. 22, 2010

  • I went to visit my aunt when I was about 9. My sis and I stayed with her for the summer. We went up to her attic, and I find this beautiful black baby doll. I feel in love with her and wanted to bring her home, but my aunt told me she belonged to my older cousin. I have never forgotten that doll, or what became of her. My kids dont see color, there friends dont see color. Its a different world then it was 50 yrs ago. How can you look at President Obama and not feel inspired by his presence as our leader?

    Answer by beyondhopes at 9:13 PM on Aug. 22, 2010

  • White is not more beautiful. If children are choosing the white dolls, it is because the media shows mostly white models, and children see that as being glamorous. As consumers, it might make a difference if we could somehow let the media know that we want to see a more diverse group of models who are a true reflection of our society.

    When I've talked to my almost 6 year old DD about how God made us different, I use the example of my friend "L" and her beautiful dark skin. That is the language I use with my children. I don't say "black" or "white" because I think there can be negative connotations. I don't allow racist talk in my home or around my children.

    This is an important question, OP, and I'm not sure what we can do. Do you have any ideas?

    Answer by Iamgr8teful at 9:15 PM on Aug. 22, 2010

  • What they are enforcing today is to be skinny and and pretty not which color race is better.

    Answer by mommy_of_two388 at 9:15 PM on Aug. 22, 2010

  • PLEASE do not take this the wrong way, but when my son was about 3 we were at Olive Garden in the city and about half way through our meal, a very attractive black couple was seated at the table next to us. A few minutes go by and our son notices this particular...the words he spoke made my heart drop, "Mommy, were they in a fire?" My husband and I stared on in horror because we knew where that question was about to lead...sure enough, before we could pick our jaws up to answer, he said "cuz they look like they got burned." The couple heard what he said and we apologized profusely- we were living way out in the country at the time and the town we went into to shop just has a very low population of anything other than whites, so this was something completely new to him! Typically the color black for most young kids is going to be associated with burnt food. It's not that white is prettier, but black just stands out a bit more

    Answer by KariLyn84 at 9:16 PM on Aug. 22, 2010

  • Kids do see color. Per this new study in 2005, black kids still see the white doll as the prettier doll.

    Comment by 35yoamom (original poster) at 9:16 PM on Aug. 22, 2010

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