Today I am following my theme of late; seeing the world through my Black son's eyes. I read about this film at Light-skinned girl's blog and watched it the other day. Back before Brown Vs. the Board of Education Dr. Kenneth Clark conducted a study to see what children would say about dolls with brown and black skin compared to dolls with pinkish, peach skin. I read about this study 25 years ago when I was in college, as I am sure many of you did. Kiri Davis, a high school student, decided to try to repeat the same study last year for a film project she was working on. The children in her study show that the messages about beauty, goodness and white skin vs. badness, ugliness and black skin are still being absorbed by today's small children. Where do they get these messages? Surely no adult directly tells them that. It's in the air and water? It's on TV and in the movies and music? It's on the evening news? In their picture books? In their Happy Meals? Don't get me started.
Kohana posted recently about trying to find a brown skinned doll for her son to play with in preparation for their new baby. She looked high and low and couldn't find one. It reminded me about how when Buster, my white oldest son was a toddler I made him a rag doll for Christmas. I had this lovely soft brown brushed cotton material so although I was using the classic Raggedy Ann pattern I made his doll brown skinned and black haired. We lived with an African American mother and child at the time so it actually fit right in with our mixed-race household. That doll became known as "Buddy Boy" for my second son, and he has just about loved it to tatters. I am planning on making a new one for him and Punkin for this Christmas and I will be looking for just the right soft brown fabric. Yesterday at Buddy's daycare I happened to look in the doll cradle in the housekeeping corner and saw nothing but white babies. I wonder if it would be appropriate for me to gift the center with some brown babydolls this holiday season?
October 31 Haiku: Unseen