I recently watched a video of a social experiment conducted on African American children. They were sat at a table with two baby dolls placed in front of them. Then they were asked a series of questions about each doll. Which one was the pretty one? Which was the ugly? Which was the good one? And which was the bad? The responses were heartbreaking. Most, if not all the replies were in favor of the white doll, even though they acknowledged identifying with the black doll.
So, what does that say about the messages they have received from the world around them? What does it say about how those messages have influenced the way they see themselves? Furthermore, how are these children supposed to grow up with a shred of dignity or self-respect when practically from birth they are being conditioned by their culture to think they are undesirable, unwanted and wicked?[sc:shn-ad2]
It’s no surprise these children view themselves in such a manner when the majority of what they see in the media and in their everyday lives is dehumanizing toward their race. It’s situations like Ferguson and Baltimore or speeches from those like Ann Coulter that let us know that though we’ve come far, we still have a long way to go.
As an Afro-Latina, my primary challenge growing up was identity. I had no role models in my everyday life or in the media with which I could identify. I played with no dolls that looked like me. I saw no examples of positive reinforcement toward minorities in my society. If anything, what I witnessed was the opposite; and because of it, I developed a complex. I wanted to be white, blonde and blue-eyed because that was what was beautiful. I would have given anything to be Britney Spears; and it was a long time before I let go of it and learned to love myself.
So, the real question is, what can be done about it? How can we help right this wrong and set a generation of children of color in a positive direction? Let’s start with Angelica Sweeting, one mother who decided to take matters into her own hands and create a product to help instill confidence and self-worth into her young African American daughters, The Angelica Doll.