The White Doll

Ladies, what the hell is going on in the U.S.A.?

Although I’ve lived most of my life in Italy, I was born and raised in the U.S. where I was taught how lucky one was to be an American because the U.S.A. was the best place in the world. And the symbol of this greatness was the Statue of Liberty.

The French gave the U.S. the statue partly as a sign of the friendship between the two countries (France went bankrupt not because of Marie-Antoinette but because it helped subsidize the American Revolution just to get back at the Brits). However, the main objective of the statue’s creation was to celebrate the end of the Civil War and of slavery. The Statue, therefore, is a monument to Liberty and Democracy. A monument to the Blacks, to their struggle towards freedom, and to their emancipation. And this is another reason why the extreme-white wants to obliterate the study of history and culture in the U.S.—they want to literally whitewash history and believing that “life liberty and the pursuit of happiness” is for Whites Only. They are so culturally illiterate that they probably don’t know that the Statue of Liberty celebrates black emancipation. And looking at what happens to beer cans with rainbows, it’s best they don’t know if we don’t want them shooting at the Statue with their AR 15s, too.

In a post from a few years ago, Storytellers, I wrote about “three different women from three different places [who] turned their insides out to write about themselves. Maybe it’s something more women should try to do. Because autobiography is a form of identity negotiation. A form of affirmation. By knowing who you are, it’s easier to be yourself.” One of the women referred to was Gwendolyn Brooks.

Gwendolyn (1917-2000) was an African poet who turned to prose to write about young Black women growing up in Chicago during segregation. In her novel Maude Martha, Gwendolyn created a fictitious character to illustrate the racism she herself had to endure while growing up. The humiliation left her (and other Black children) with indelible psychic scars.

Our sense of self, our semi-self-imposed identity, much determines how we live our lives, of what choices we make, of how we inter-relate with others. Gwendolyn understood this and felt the need to recreate her identity according to her own standards and not those of some white-washed patriarchal racist. And with reason.

In the 1940s, psychologist Mamie Phipps Clark and her husband conducted a series of experiments known as the “doll tests”. The intent was to see the psychological effects of segregation on Black children.

Science, Civil Rights, and the Doll Test (source)

Black children (ages 3-7) were presented with a white doll and a black doll then asked which doll was beautiful, which doll was good, which doll was ugly, and which doll was bad. The majority of the children indicated the white doll as good and beautiful whereas the black doll as bad and ugly. The psychologists concluded that discrimination and segregation had caused these children to feel inferior thus mutilating the perception they had of themselves.

Segregation subjected Blacks to a collective solitary confinement. Deprived interaction with the mainstream world, Black children grew up feeling isolated and inadequate. They considered themselves losers even before the game got started.

The results were so concrete and devastating that they were used in the case of Brown v. Board of Education, the 1954 landmark Supreme Court case in which the justices ruled unanimously that racial segregation of children in public schools was unconstitutional.

One of the greatest gifts you can give another is to make them feel better about themselves. Pro-life is helping those in difficulty to embrace life and not fear it.

So why not make the world a better place and make someone feel beautiful today!

For You From Me


Related: Lynching Postcards + Eudora Welty (1909-2001)  and the death of Medgar Evers + The Bluest Eye

lynching postcards 1908

the Statue of Liberty background + Statue of Liberty Meaning: What She Stands For + French Ask for Return of Statue of Liberty (parody) + BROWN V. BOARD AND “THE DOLL TEST” +

About Art for Housewives

The Storyteller....
This entry was posted in Beauty, Books, Conditions of Possibility, female consciousness, politics and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The White Doll

  1. Yvonne says:

    I had not heard of the ‘white doll’-‘black doll’ experiment. The findings are tragic.

  2. iamaghast says:

    ProLife? You’re kidding, right?
    Cause in the US ProLife & the Catholic Church stand against Women’s Reproductive Health/Rights rather than ending gun & domestic violence.
    So when you say prolife you mean to say Love is greatest gifts you can give another to make them feel better & care about themselves.

  3. Benedictine nun Joan Chittister: “I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed…because you don’t want any tax money to go there. That’s not pro-life. That’s pro-birth.” And this is the context for my use of Pro-life.

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