Black Dolls: Do They Matter?

As a mother in the era of Black Lives Matter, Black Girl Magic, and the Me Too Movement, I am keenly aware of every decision I make concerning my young black children. Parenting, in general, sometimes feels like a scary game of high stakes, high speed, decision making that often leaves us grown-ups wondering, “how many years of future therapy will this cause?”.

Daily, we think about the type of clothes they should wear, which extracurricular activities to enroll them in, which schools they should attend, and even which toys they should play with. Even before I became a mother I was considering which toys I would buy my future daughters. Part of this was just lofty daydreaming, the rest was a concern for their self-esteem.

Years before I was even seriously considering pregnancy I remember seeing a news special on The Doll Test.

The CNN special I saw was a recreation of the Kenneth & Mamie Clark experiment done in the 1940s. The history surrounding this study is quite interesting.

During the study, black researchers showed a group of children two dolls and asked a series of