Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Good doll, bad doll

Linda Hartley shared this link via Twitter today. It broke my heart. No child should ever be given the impression that they are bad or ugly. Just look at these precious little faces as they effectively write themselves off as both of these things! These kids need a dose of Maya Angelou!

What are we teaching our children?


Linda M Hartley said...

It stunned me when I happened on it earlier. I knew about the old 50s experiments but assumed things had changed. Obviously not. There's more context in this version:
and I've written a little more of my thoughts on my blog.

The upsycho said...

@Linda Thanks for sharing. You know, perceptions are so weird. Just on Monday, I was in a clothing store and I saw a gorgeous pair of neon lime shoes. I have a thing about funky shoes and my interest was quickened. Then a (very dark) black lady next to me tried them on. They looked so absolutely stunning against her skin that I realised I could do them no justice whatsoever with my insipid complexion. They needed to be worn by a black woman. I now wish I had told her how stunning she looked.

I belong to a very multicultural church which includes several black families, and I am choked up to think that those precious kids might see themselves as being somehow less pretty or less 'good' than the white kids, simply because they are black and they have 'kinky' hair.

V Yonkers said...

I look at this video with wonder. When my daughter was young, she always used to chose the black dolls because she liked them better. I remember my mother in taking me aside when she got a new doll that was black and saying my daughter insisted on buying the doll. Whenever she drew pictures of herself, she would color her skin with a brown crayon. What was interesting was that she has my mother in law's Italian coloring, and compared to my own and brother's coloring, she is like my husband, with a darker complexion.

I never made a big deal out of it and she has always had a wide range of dolls with different complexions. I wonder why these children at such a young age make the distinction, whereas this has never seemed to bother my daughter.

The upsycho said...

When I saw photos and clips from the original 50s experiment, I have to say, I thought the black doll was ugly, too. It looked as if they had taken a white doll and painted it with shiny black (and I mean black, not brown) paint. It looked grotesque. If I had been looking at this research, I would have raised a question about that. I would have thought that this would influence the children's choices.

I certainly would have expected that the repeat experiment with an altogether more cuddly looking black doll to have different results. Especially in an era where black role models for both success and beauty abound.

Sigh. We have a long way to go.