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Black Doll, White Doll

Black Doll, White Doll

A recreation of the famous 1940s experiment by the Clarks that was instrumental in the US Supreme court ruling that racial segregation was unconstitutional. 

News story on the newer version:

Originally shared by Max Huijgen

See what happens when kids grow up in a world of racial stereotypes 

The video shows a repeat of an old experiment where children can chose between two dolls. See these black children demonstrate a complete lack of self-esteem or even outright self-hatred by choosing a white doll (the ‘nice one’) over a black one while they are perfectly aware of their own skin color.

If all you hear and see are images where a black skin is linked with violence, crime and poverty, it’s no wonder young kids already disassociate themselves of their own color. 

The original 1940s experiment by Kenneth and Mamie Clark led to the famous High Court decision to forbid racial school segregation. This small scale repetition of the experiment shows we still have a long way to go. 

The relevance for my own country of birth, the Netherlands, is that the national debate about ‘Zwarte Piet’, a blackface helper to the December celebration of ‘Sinterklaas’ is really important for black all children.

Black Pete is mostly played by white people, using black makeup, over the top afro wigs, golden earrings and large red lips. They act ‘funny’ by pretending to be stupid, while jumping around in an energetic way. 

They act as the little helpers to the wise, white, bearded Saint Nicolas who arrives on his even more white high horse…

The contrast can’t be bigger and the stereotyping can hardly be more over the top. Complaints by the relatively small black community in the Netherlands are mostly put aside as ‘it’s all good fun and don’t spoil the party for the children’

Maybe watching this little experiment helps realize defenders of this tradition realize that stereotyping does make children suffer.

Racism goes much deeper than skin; it really is a brain disease

#ZwartePiet   #BlackPete   #racism


Join the Conversation


  1. Arc Michael when you talk “about science” you should really use science. Or if you don’t know any science, how about leaving it to those who do? Your ignorance does not entitle you to invent your own knowledge.

    You could try just looking outside the house. My son is a great shade intermediate to his mother and I.


  2. What nonsense. You can’t ask leading questions to a kid and imply meaning into it. Sure, ask them which doll they like but by asking which doll is then nice, you distort any possible meaning. The idea that you force them to label the other doll, the only other option, as “bad” is ridiculous, leading, and outright shameful. This is the most unethical and biased “experiment” I have seen in a while.


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