In her last article on New Demographic, Carmen Van Kerckhove mentions a short documentary filmed by 17-years old Kiri Davis as a high school project: A Girl Like Me. She decided to repeat an experiment conducted by psychologist Kenneth B. Clark in 1954, in which he showed a black and a white doll to black children, and asked them to choose the one they preferred. The vast majority chose the white doll.
Over fifty years later, Kiri conducted the same test on 21 black children in New York City, and 15 chose the white doll.
Kiri Davis’s experiment is conducted in the US. But I’d bet that if someone conducted the same experiment here, in India, the vast majority, if not all the Indian children, would also choose the white doll over a brown or a black one.
Maybe this experiment should be conducted everywhere in the world. Because seeing the child who not only chooses the white doll, but when asked to show the bad one, chooses the black doll, and then, when asked what doll looks like her, hesitates a fraction of a second, and then pushes the black doll towards the filmmaker… I don’t know that I can ever forget the expression on the face of that child. Carmen’s title for that article is “What is the human cost of racism?” Well, we see it on the face of that little girl. And it is heartbreaking.