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As in the original test, Kiri found that most of the black children preferred the white dolls and identified the black dolls as "bad." "I think those attitudes that existed 50 years ago are still here. They're not highlighted, and they're kind of on the down low, but they still exist," Kiri says. "These children, even though they're 4 and 5 years old, they're kind of like a mirror and they show exactly what they've been exposed to by society."

Kiri says she hoped the documentary would highlight for people how subtle messages—like those in the media and through product marketing—affect children. "I thought you could tell people all you want about how certain standards are affecting self-esteem and self-image, but [when] you show them, that's when they'll get it," Kiri says. "That's what I thought the doll test might do."

Even still, Kiri says she was surprised by the reaction A Girl Like Me provoked. It won an award from the Media That Matters film festival and was featured on news reports around the world. The documentary is available on the Internet and has been used to spark classroom discussions. "I thought maybe the doll test might hit some nerve in America, but I didn't think to that extent," she says.
FROM: Children Ashamed of the Way They Look
Published on January 01, 2006