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Monday, September 7, 2009

"Black women are ugly..."

The start of the school year and thoughts about our children brought this post to mind. Enjoy the re-run.


[Originally posted March 24, 2008 at 4:46 PM]

I teared when I first watched the film A Girl Like Me, directed by young Kiri Davis, 3 years ago. Below is a 7 minute clip.

This disturbing film documents the fact that the pivotal Kenneth and Mamie Clark experimental findings, are as valid today as they were in the 1930's. Sadly, our children still prefer the white doll to the Black doll.

Used to argue several Brown vs. Board of Education law suits in support of integrated schools, the actual data set is rarely if ever examined.

In fact, the Clark's data actually revealed that more children in integrated northern schools preferred and would rather play with the white doll than children in segregated southern schools.

I'd bet you didn't know that.

Moreover, the Clarks found that after Black children entered segregated schools, they approved more highly of the Black dolls. Translation: during the formative years, Black children feel better about themselves when educated in a nurturing environment of adults and children who look like them.

One of the actual data sets:
Children at northern, integrated schools vs. Children at southern, segregated schools

Prefer to play with white doll: 72% vs. 62%
White doll is "nice" 68% vs. 52%
Black doll is "bad" 71% vs.

None of the numbers above are good, but the trend is undeniable. What can I say except, 'Don't believe the hype.'

Support African-centered Saturday programs like the one my son has attended at Nsoromma School.

Additional web resources are available to you through the Black Homeschoolers Network and, here in Atlanta, AYA Educational Institute.

Recommended reading: Developmental Psychology of the Black Child and other books by Dr. Amos Wilson.

Finally, there is a wonderful article about sisterlocks, our daughters, self esteem and locking children's hair in Vol. 2, No. 2. of the Sisterlocks Journal. Giovonnie Samuels, the sisterlocked, Nickelodeon child-star is on the cover.

Dr. JoAnne Cornwell the innovator of sisterlocks has an academic appointment in the Department of Africana Studies at San Diego State University.)


Happy, Nappy, & Free To Be Me said...

The numbers are unfortunately very sad but true. My elementary and middle school years were in a private school where the black kids in my grade could be counted on a few fingers. I too wanted to be like the white girls just to fit in and hated when my sisters teased me with words like Tar Baby and Black Midnight. Funny that now, I am not afraid of my natural self and easily function well in a completely integrated world, while they, educated in the same way that I was, will never embrace their natural nappiness. They now look at me with rolled eyes because they can't believe that I wear natural nappy hair!

Oh, and I agree, Dr. Cornwell is an amazing gem!! I met her last month in northern California.

QueenLi said...

I went to elemen..sch. during the late 70's I am born/raised in GA.
and I've been to both predom. wht. and blk. schools, and I prefer blk. dolls, but also played with/had wht. dolls {barbie}

Docs Locs said...

Hi Queenli,

I've been getting a lot of, "I went to white schools and I'm ok" responses to this post! But truly, my intention is not to indict. I know that we, our parents and even our grandparents have done and are doing the best that we know how. I'm just nudging us to adjust, adapt and improve as we learn more :o)

In fact, I attended predominantly white schools all of my life until I attended and HBCU. But I must say my mother wouldn't dream of giving me a white doll. It was too much like reinforcing the mammy stereotype (my mom was a history and a psych major :o)

Unfortunately, a 'diverse' student body does not necessarily translates into a positive, self-affirming educational experience for our children - and if the Clark's data is correct, it may be even worse for their self esteem.

I posted the links to resources that I think parents of Afrikan children my find helpful.

Much love,
and Hotep

Kinky Awakenings said...

When I first saw this video it broke my heart. It demonstrated to me that even though there is more Black representation in the media, we have much work to do IN THE HOME to affirm our natural beauty, intelligence and outstanding history to our children.

I've watched every dvd you've given me (and of course shared it with some of my clients). I have a new point of view and a lot more learning and sharing to do. Thank you SO much for sharing your knowledge!!!


Anonymous said...

Hi docs locs,
This is the comment that I tried to post to your blog. I'm not sure if it worked, so I'm sending it to you. Do I have to join first, or just type the code letters and send.

I enjoyed the video and would like to show it to the class in which I am doing my student teaching, however the sister who is the supervising teacher has shown me that she has no interest in this type of topic. During Black History month, I always pump our history to my students, but this time not a peep of a word was uttered to the students by this sister. I can't teach Biology or the Science of Life to my students without tying it in to who developed the subject and were the worlds greatest purveyors of science and knowledge in general. I sit confused and amazed each day to witness the so-called correct method imposed on our children.

I guess I am saying that I am amazed at the depth of the indoctrination that has taken place in this country and others regarding our people, especially. The kids that I am with each day have no clue whatsoever as to who they really are and what is and has been going on in this country. I realize that they are a reflection of the adults in their lives. This reflection demonsrates that the adults were and are lost themselves. Despite having a doctorate, the education system has forced me to take some basic level education classes in order to obtain a teaching certificate to be in the classroom with our children. This pain in the a_ _, has allowed me to learn a few valuable things about the american or european desce nded education system. As the nobility in europe never intended the masses to rise above serfdom (and they were all white), the system here never intended to educate american citizens to be above laborers for industry or the military. If that is what this system intended for their own, we can begin to see how depraved their opinion was for the education and position of Black People. Research has clearly shown that when we clammored for and achieved 'desegregation' that the response from the system was 'testing' of both prospective teachers, teachers and students, in order to maintain segregation. There never was to be real equality or integration. The integra tion that we found was just consumerism. You are free to bring us your money. You are not free to spend your money on yourselves, therefore your $800 billion that you spend each year now, will politely remain in our pockets. You suckers.

I guess I am saying that I witness daily the results of this on-purpose indoctrination that we have and still do receive. As one who also went to mixed or predominantly white schools, I too have had to find myself because it was never taught there. However it was taught at home. I am fortunate to have had parents who believed in teaching their children to be proud of who they were, and that was Black. I learned over years that that was a proud African descendant.

I have learned to embrace that without all of the external trappings. For me it is an internal force, first. I can then manifest that internal force in my life to the external world. I meet many people who are steeped in the external trappings, yet treat each other like dirt. Or rather in the most un-African ways that I can imagine. As many of my elders and teachers have said, we must be able to fall in love with that African person in the mirror first and foremost. For many of us the trappings get in the way.

On another note: This weeks topic in class is Evolution. The kids became furious in class at the idea that their precious Bible was anything but completely true. I tried to gently bring some new information to these childrens ears and minds, but they were locked. Don't tell me anything about myself, was the motto...

I'll leave this aspect of the discussion for another day...



foxydiva said...

Living in a predom non black area, most of my friends have children. I buy them black dolls for presents. One of my little doll faces said, "But, I'm not African American," (so PC @ 10 lol.) I then picked up another one of her dolls and said, "But you don't have blonde hair either. yet you have a blonde doll, and you are human, but have a stuffed panda bear"

It made perfect sense to her innocent child mind and actually caused quite a ruckus when she took it to her grand bigots house for the holidays. After her doll became MIA, she immediately phone to be picked up because Grandma and Grandpa were "haters."

Nothing like getting put in your place by a child.

Great post!!!

Docs Locs said...

Wow FoxyDiva! Imagine you buying an AA doll for a white child when so many AA parents rarely (if ever) buy AA dolls for their AA children - you go girl!

Anonymous said...

The majority of African American women exhibit masculine traits such as large hands and feet, tougher skin, and a pugnacious attiude. The general facial structure of African American women tends to exhibit an undersized chin and oversized cheeks, that is in stark contrast to women of other races who have fully developed chins and tight cheeks. African Americans also have tough hair which is usually not considered to be attractive in women.  

Anonymous said...

I would love to see the day when we're less self-loathing, self-deprecating, and feel less like "constant victims".

Why would you preface this post with the words "black women are ugly"?? Why?? To bait on readers' insecurities??

If you read or hear something enough, eventually, you begin to believe it. Quit spreading this sort of propaganda, and then complaining when our people (and children) pick up on it.

Don't write crazy mess like that. You could've come up with a title that was more relevent, intelligent, and constructive.

Dr. CK

Docs Locs said...

Your feedback is invaluable, Dr. C.K.

Regarding your comment, "I would love to see the day when we're less self-loathing, self-deprecating, and feel less like "constant victims". We are on the same page!

The title is in quotes to reflect the comments and overall self concept articulated by the girls interviewed for Kiri Davis' short film.

The provocative title sometimes prevents people from reading and digesting the entire post which offers the message that a positive self image does not occur in a vacuum, but requires the collective efforts of our community to socialize our children in a positive, self-affirming, and Afrikan-centered way.

So sad was the girl in the film who said that her aunt began to bleach her cousins' skin at the age of six! And so we natural hair bloggers continue our modest attempt at creating a supportive community and a safe place for our sisters to make the 'natural' choice.

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