I remember having watched a similar doll test video a few years ago, and now that I am becoming more aware of the issues of white privilege and its effects on people, I am thinking through the implications of these studies more deeply. I did an online research to look into the background of these studies, and learnt that the original psychological research started in the 1940s to look into the effects of racial segregation in schools in America back then.
“These findings exposed internalized racism in African-American children, self-hatred that was more acute among children attending segregated schools. This research also paved the way for an increase in psychological research into areas of self-esteem and self-concept”
Similarly, this article noted:
“The Clark Doll Test illustrates the ill effects of stereotyping and racial segregation in America. It illustrated the damage caused by systematic segregation and racism on children’s self-perception at the young age of five.”
This is the reason why Malcolm X’s words below resonate so much with me.
“Who taught you to hate the color of your skin? Who taught you to hate the texture of your hair? Who taught you to hate the color of your skin, to such extent that you bleach to get like the white man? Who taught you to hate the shape of your nose and the shape of your lip? Who taught you to hate yourself, from the top of your head to the soles of your feet? Who taught you to hate your own kind? Who taught you to hate the race that you belong to—so much so that you don’t want to be around each other? No… Before you come asking Mr. Muhammad does he teach hate, you should ask yourself who taught you to hate being what God made you.” (May 22, 1962, Los Angeles)
I came across this book that puts into perspective the influence that the white-dominated media’s concept of beauty, which is subjective and culture-specific, has on people who are exposed to such media.
“Beauty standards are perceived according to cultural norms. For example, the cultural norms and beauty standards of the Masai in Africa are different from that of the Eskimos in Alaska. Black Americans, perhaps more than anyone else, carry a heavier psychological burden. The mental damage from centuries of bombardment with Euro-American standards of beauty has had tremendous impact on how we view ourselves within what is essentially an alien country.”
Yes, if truth be told, there is something powerful, genuine and moving about the raw, unadulterated, innocent beauty of indigenous people such as the Masai people in Africa, like what is said in this blog. It is something that the white-washed media that is obsessed with artificial make-up and fair skins cannot stand nor comprehend. It is paramount that we reclaim our innate, original beauty and our sense of inherent self-worth.