a girl like me

Teenage Kiri Davis conducted her own version of the 1954 Kenneth Clark doll test, in which she put a brown skinned and white skinned doll before black kids in a harlem day care center. Each child is asked to pick which doll is the “nice” doll, “bad” doll, “pretty” doll, and “ugly” doll. The results of her experiement mirrored Clark’s almost perfectly.

The reassuring female voice asks the child a question: “Can you show me the doll that looks bad?”

The child, a preschool-aged Black girl, quickly picks up and shows the Black doll over a White one that is identical in every respect except complexion.

“And why does that look bad?”

“Because she’s Black,” the little girl answers emphatically.

And why is this the nice doll?” the voice continues.

“Because she’s White.”

“And can you give me the doll that looks like you?”

The little girl hesitates for a split second before handing over the Black doll that she has just designated as the uglier one.

(more – baltimore times article)

Press play to watch the clip:

Kiri Davis, 16, Urban Academy
“I wanted to make a film that explored the standards of beauty imposed on today’s black girls. How do these standards affect her self-esteem or self-image. Through making this film I learned a lot about where some of these standards might stem from. ”

Kiri’s Media That Matters page



~ by Anayah on February 3, 2007.

4 Responses to “a girl like me”

  1. Hi NiteVision

    I love this post — black women’s self esteem has been systematically crushed over the years. slowly but surely, we have been made to feel as we are nothing because we do not fit the eurocentric stereotype. it has pitted dark skinned sisters against their light skinned sisters – it is a disgrace and thank god that we can look back and say that at least some of don’t think like that….although many black girls do have that inadequacy & superiority complex melted into them.

  2. Amazing post. So incredibly relevant. I had to blog about on too sense.

  3. yeah, i was blown away when the lil girl went to choose the doll that ‘looked like her’ after already labeling that doll as ‘bad.’ watching her hesitate…and what looked like processing that choice was just heartbreaking. i really do hope that someone did work with those children after the experiment…

    dna…i’m headed over to too sense to check out your post.

  4. If you liked the YouTube video called ‘A Girl Like Me’ by Kiri Davis then here is a way that you can help this shining star win a $10,000 scholarship! PLEASE vote for Kiri in the Cosmo Girl Website at http://www.cosmogirl.com/entertainment/film-contest-vote Her film has really inspired me and I think this young lady has a great future ahead of her.
    You can view ‘A Girl Like Me’ on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17fEy0q6yqc
    And please Spread the Word!

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