Sunday, May 27, 2007

What does this say about our world?

Some of you may remember it, live and in the flesh...

More than 50 years ago the U.S. Supreme Court carefully weighed the effects of segregation. In their decision, the Supreme Court specifically cited a 1950's paper discussing "The Doll Test."

Psychologists Kenneth Clark and his wife, Mamie Phipps Clark designed a test to study the psychological effects of segregation on children. In the "doll test" they used four plastic, diaper-clad dolls, completely identical in every respect except color. They showed the dolls to black children between the ages of 3 and 7, and asked them to answer questions to determine racial perception and preference. Almost all of the children readily identified the race of the dolls. However, when asked which they preferred, the majority selected the white doll and attributed positive characteristics to it.

They summarized their findings in a final document in 1950. The Clarks concluded that "prejudice, discrimination, and segregation" caused black children to develop a sense of inferiority and self-hatred.

Fast-forward to 2005...
A documentary, A Girl Like Me, by Kiri Davis recreates the doll test at a modern day daycare center. You can see video of it here. This video is stomach-churning sickening. The kids respond with a smile and quickness that will surprise you.

What does it mean?? How "integrated" are we as a society?

I only know this area and I can only speak from my own experience. My class....16 of my 18 students are black. Of the other 2, 1 is hispanic and 1 is white. In past years the numbers have been comparable. There are definitely schools in my county with diverse populations, but the majority remained "polarized." Like my own.

Our schools are integrated by law, but segregated by our communities and neighborhoods... our socio-economic groups

As hard as I work to make our "first grade community" a loving, accepting, caring color-blind place. Does it really matter?!? These kids, at their young age, already know how the world works.

Click here if you're interested in taking a Implicit Association Test for Race or Gender. Very interesting...


Cold Spaghetti said...

Great post, Emily!

Anonymous said...

Very interesting information. mom

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