A Girl Like Me

In 1954 researcher Kenneth B. Clark did a test: he asked African American kids to choose which doll they liked better, a black one or a white one. Overwhelmingly black kids chose white dolls. The test was instrumental in Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court case that overturned school segregation.

Unfortunately, as 17-year-old filmmaker Kiri Davis found out last year, little has changed. As part of a film project at Reelworks, she set out to recreate the test, finding that 15 of 21 black children she interviewed picked the white doll as the "nice" one:
“And why does that look bad?”

“Because she’s Black,” the little girl answers emphatically.

“And why is this the nice doll?” the voice continues.

Because she’s White.”

“And can you give me the doll that looks like you?”

The little girl hesitates for a split second before handing over the Black doll that she has just designated as the uglier one.
Minneapolitans: Davis' A Girl Like me screens continuously in the Walker Art Center's Lecture Room throughout March as part of the Women With Vision film festival.

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