My Doll Test

Jade Collier, Reporter

Last week, I came across the famous Clark Doll Test, an experiment conducted during 1940 that illustrated the effects of racial segregation in America. During this experiment they presented children between the ages of three and seven with two baby dolls, one black and one white. After bringing in the kids they asked simple questions. They were asked to characterize the dolls as ‘nice and pretty’ or ‘ugly and bad’ and nine times out of ten the children associated the positive descriptions with the white doll and negative towards the black. I found the results likely due to the racial segregation during the forties but how the results would play out today? So I decided to conduct a little experiment myself.

I grabbed my old cabbage patch dolls I used to attend to as a child but now are starting to tear, but both equally damaged. I sat my seven year old sister down at my dinner table and placed a white doll and a black doll in front of her. I began asking her simple questions first tested in the original experiment. When asked which doll she thought was prettier, her finger pointed into the direction of the white doll without any hesitation. And when I asked her which one looked the most like her she slowly placed her hand on the black doll while her expression became soft. The last question I asked her was why she thought the doll who looked the most like her was less appealing. She looked up and at me and said, “Girls with white skin and straight hair are always prettier.” That was the last statement she said during the experiment, and it broke my heart.

We live in a very stereotype-based society. Everyone expects you to fit into a certain category or look/act/talk a certain way according to your race. We’ve all heard the jokes “[insert race here] people like”  which don’t make us any better than what we were 40 years ago. Saying jokes like these put everyone back into this mental segregation. Instead of moving forwards we are stuck in this unhealthy in between. People now a days feel that if they do not fit into their specific stereotype, that they should be ashamed and insecure. I have suffered many wrong doings in my life due to the fact that I wasn’t like “other black girls.” Comments like those have not only offended me my whole life but made me feel as though I had something to be ashamed of. Throughout my high school experience I have seen many people stereotype black women as “loud” or “annoying” or “ugly” just for having a darker tone of skin than the “pretty” “perfect” and “cool” lighter-toned girls. And my question is how does this make us any better or show any progression from times when the white man was seen as the superior race?

The only way to fix this on going issue is the empowerment of black people. The black race has always been looked down on in society so its time for us to realize our worth is not based on the color of our skin. I believe strongly through children we can end this racial issue once for all. No child should feel less important than the one standing next to them.

The next time I tell my sister she’s worth the whole world, my only hope is that one day she actually believes it.