I had been reading a blog called Javaqueen with an idiot ranting about how she doesn’t care whether people are black or white. I commented a couple of times about their comments that were aimed at the documentary “A girl like me.” Which is based on the experiment by Kenneth and Mamie Clark which was used in the Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme court case. The comments were so stupid that I couldn’t help but add my two cents.
“A girl like me” by Kirri Davis has been gaining more news since Obama began running for president and thrust race relations back into the limelight. Now the people on this blog had all sorts of thoughts about the experiment such as “Somehow I feel insulted that they suggested that choosing the white doll meant low self-esteem. What’s wrong with being white?” And it was blatantly obvious that none of them were willing to take two minutes and “read” a little bit about the study as to get a full understanding.
The study didn’t intend to show that something was wrong with being white. The study actually showed that through the systemic racism that persists in our society children internalize that racism. The kids were asked things such as which doll is good, which doll is pretty and which doll is smart. For all of those questions the black children chose the white doll. The children went on to choose the black doll when asked which doll was stupid, ugly, or less fun.
Of course it never fails, one of them will comment about how their child picked a black doll or they themselves picked a black doll because she was prettiest. As if this somehow negates the fact that the white race is over represented in the toy industry or advertising. This unremarkable trait presents itself in magazines, movies, television, books and any other medium from which the world is communicated to black children.
Yet, unsurprisingly, people on the blog began talking about parenting as if you can parent away the affects of racial inequality in society. Of course I was attacked for trying to show that society doesn’t value people of color, especially not for their looks. One person claims that they turn the television on and black people are everywhere. Talk about bamboozled. This could be true if she is watching a bunch of BET. I know she isn’t watching ABC, NBC, CBS, Discovery or TLC saying that bull. But, I guess this person also walks into the toy stores and sees toys aimed at black kids everywhere. Oh what a nice fantasy.
Except that back in reality when I searched the toy store to get a ride on toy for my son, my choices were severely limited. I had the choice of a little people’s fire engine which was full of little white firemen. I could also choose a Fisher Price nursery rhyme car which had a blonde hair blue eyed Hansel and Gretel sitting with Mother goose. Another choice is the Fun Farm toy which features a white farmer with a few animals.
The last choice was Stickers from the movie “Cars” which unfortunately I had to choose if he were to have a ride on toy which was readily available in the store at the time. Stickers of course is a car except that it is a car with blue eyes. Now from all these choices which one represents black children? In fact there was not one ride on toy that featured black people of any sort. Yet, I guess I can just parent thoughts of black images that are nonexistent on his toys into his brain instead of expecting to have an option of actual black images on his toys.
This isn’t a phenomenon like those fools commenting to the blog I mentioned would have us all believe. This is a normal daily occurrence for minorities. People seem to think that black people should have no problem identifying with whatever race is presented before us. Yet, in all practicality we all know better. It is the same thing which occurs with those who have eating disorders. They show these bony thin men and women in magazines, movies and television not to mention Barbie and her friends and kids internalize these images.
But somehow that is understandable where blacks internalizing the plethora of images of whites are incomprehensible or worse. Brotherpeacemaker talked about this very thing in his blog post “European Images of Beauty” where he discussed the issue beautifully. And of course the “don’t blame everyone else for your poor self esteem” folks came out of the wood work. I guess if you write it they will come. Anyhow, it’s totally understandable that those suffering from anorexia should blame the people in control of the marketing, media and magazines. But blacks suffering from internalized racism should never blame the people in control of the marketing, media and magazines. The only people to blame are always ourselves, oh and our parenting skills.