Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Are we there yet??

Do you remember when you were a little girl and loved to play dress up? Shoot, I still like to play dress up. But when you were little, you would pretend to be this person or that person. I remember always saying, “So-and-so is MY man!” I used to love Teddy Riley and Toni Terri. Remember playing with Barbie dolls! My Mom wouldn’t buy me a car so I attached a shoestring to a shoebox and dragged my dolls around the house pretending as if they were going to the mall, their girlfriend’s house or to the store. I did have a 3-story dream house complete with a wrap around staircase, full size bed (and matching linens), and sofa. My Barbies were always ‘in the know’ because I made mini magazines for them out of the subscriber inserts from Ebony, Jet, and whatever else was lying around the house. And Chile’ they were fly. My favorite Barbie, Christina, had a gray pleather coat with grey faux fur around the collar.

So now that I have you thinking about your childhood, how many of you dreamed of being a princess? Now in your dream, were you a minority princess or were you white. What about your Barbies and the rest of your dolls? Were they the same color as you or were they white? Not that that is bad or anything, I just say this because 50 years ago Dr. Kenneth B. Clark, the star witness for the Brown vs. the Board of Education, used Black and White dolls during his psychological test regarding Black children’s self image. Recently, Kiri Davis, high school student in New York, filmed a documentary on the Black children’s self image and conducted a similar test using a Black doll and a White doll. To see the news broadcast featuring her work, click here.

While the recent test did surprise me a bit, it didn’t as well. While measures have been taken in some schools and other public institutions to change Black children’s perception of themselves, it takes more than that. We all know that media shapes our minds and especially our children’s minds. We all know that parents need to take an active role in what their kids are watching, reading, and interacting with, but Davis’ documentary really answers the question of ‘Are we there yet?’ No, we aren’t. To watch the full documentary, click here.

I know that I regardless of race, I have always said that I would buy my friend’s children a little Black doll because it looks like me. I believe children should play with dolls that reflect the entire world, not just a small percent. That’s just me.

Until next time...
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