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Skewed Self-Image
Recreating the doll experiment
In the "doll experiment" from the 1940s, husband-and-wife psychologists Kenneth and Mamie Clark asked black children to tell them which doll—a white one or a black one—they thought looked most like them, and which was good and which was bad. They found that black children identified with and preferred white dolls to black ones. They concluded this was proof of internalized racism. Their research later became cornerstone evidence in the landmark Supreme Court Brown v. Board of Education decision of Topeka, Kansas, which ended American school segregation.

In 2005, 18-year-old filmmaker Kiri Davis recreated the Clarks' experiment with 21 young black children at a daycare center in New York. In her seven-minute documentary, A Girl Like Me, Kiri presented the children with two dolls—a black one and a white one. Then, like in the original experiment, Kiri asked which they would rather play with and which they thought was "nice" and which was "bad."