Participant in Davis's "doll test" experiment.
Tags: children/youth, psychology/social psychology, race/ethnicity, ideal beauty, internalized racism, representation, self-esteem, self-image, social experiment, socialization, 06 to 10 mins
Summary: In this youth-directed short documentary film produced by Reel Works Teen Filmmaking, director Kiri Davis interviews other young African American women to gain insight about their experiences with race, racism, and beauty standards, particularly as they relate to skin color, hair, and facial features. Davis also re-conducts Dr. Kenneth Clark's famous “doll test” from the 1940s, which was used in the historic desegregation case of Brown v. Board of Education (1954) to show the psychological effects of segregation on black children. Davis's recreation of this experiment shows that, sadly, despite being conducted 60 years later, the results of the experiment are strikingly similar to the original. That is, 15 of the 21 black children in Davis's experiment are shown to prefer the white doll, often describing the white doll as "nice" and the black doll as "bad." A Girl Like Me can be used to teach numerous concepts, including various theories related to the self (e.g., self-image, self-esteem), internalized racism, and socialization. Click here for another clip on The Sociological Cinema that re-creates a version of this doll experiment in order to illustrate children's racial bias.
Submitted By: Valerie Chepp
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