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[The Kenneth and Mammie Clark doll experiment] involved a child being presented with two dolls. Both of these dolls were completely identical except for the skin and hair color. One doll was white with yellow hair, while the other was brown with black hair.The child was then asked questions inquiring as to which one is the doll they would play with, which one is the nice doll, which one looks bad, which one has the nicer color, etc. The experiment showed a clear preference for the white doll among all children in the study. (x)

This study from the late 30s and 40s shows the biting effects of white supremacy on perceptions of blackness even amongst young black children. But you know what’s most tragic about the experiment? It was replicated in recent years and the results were exactly the same. I grew up wishing I had wavier “less nappy” hair. I grew up wishing I had light colored eyes or could squeeze light colored contacts onto my irises. I grew up wishing that I was 40 or 50% white instead of being “just 25%.” I understand how this self loathing feels and everytime I see this picture it brings me close to tears. Because I know that if this experiment had been conducted on me as a black child growing up in America, I would have also chosen the white doll without missing a beat. 

And people just don’t seem to get how deeply infused white supremacy is into our media and cultural fabric. You never explicitly have to tell a black child “well white people are better than you and you should hate yourself for being black” in order for you to know that is the operating logic of our racist society at large. As black people, in addition to everything else we have to deal with from police brutality, redlining and the school-to-prison pipeline to the disproportionate violence against trans black women, we also have to struggle with this internalized racism and self hatred on top of everything.
We are so taught to hate ourselves in this country that quite a few black people bleach our skins. We are so taught to hate ourselves that black men in droves talk about how they would “never date a black woman,” particularly a dark skinned one, and flaunt their white and non-black significant others about while openly degrade black women. We are so taught to hate ourselves that to this day at 24 I still struggle to overcome the enormous self hatred that I’ve been taught from day one growing up in this racist, white supremacist and virulently antiblack country. So much time has passed since this experiment and yet so little has changed in our nation where white supremacy and antiblackness continue to reign supreme. And this picture reminds me of this fact every single time. 
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