The doll test is a psychological experiment designed in the 1940’s in the US to test the degree or marginalization felt by African American children caused by prejudice, discrimination and racial segregation.
Kenneth and Mamie Clark’s doll experiments grew out of Mamie Clark’s master’s degree thesis on children’t self perception related to race between 1939 and 1940.
This test was used in the 1954 Supreme Court Case, Brown vs. The Board of Education that desegregated American schools.
The Doll Test (USA): Here’s a video from 2012 of the doll test being given to American children from different ethnic backgrounds.
Parents React (USA): This video shows the effect society has on our children and the profound reaction of selected parents whose children were given the test.
The Doll Test (Italy): Given the considerable increase of migration in Europe in recent years, the doll test was re-created with Italian children in 2016.
Reflection: I can’t tell you how much it hurts my heart to watch these videos. Children speak what they learn and these responses are eye opening and candid.
One thing we know is that racism is taught and learned. Although we have come a long way, we still have a long way to go towards accepting people for who they are rather than judging them by their skin colour.
In order for us to change our world and the perception of our children, parents must take an active role in breaking the chains racism within their homes and amongst their family and friends. We must not allow outside influences of societal prejudices to outweigh the rights and wrongs of humanity.
In this day and age it is no longer acceptable to “not talk about race”. I feel it is our responsibility to acknowledge the differences, respect the cultures and accept each individual with all of the richness and beauty of one’s heritage. Our differences are what make us individually unique and at the same time beautiful as one human race.
“Silence is the enabler of hate, therefore silence is violence.”
Albert Earl Jr.
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