The ‘ugly’ doll

During our Values lecture this morning, we were discussing the ideas of racism. During the presentation, we were shown the history of racism towards African/American people from the 19th century up until the present day.

It was seen that racism was a big part of history and a story in particular we spoke about was Emmett Till, who was brutally murdered by two white people. During their trial, they were found to be not guilty, despite all of the evidence against them.

What really struck me about today’s lecture was the vast amount of racism still ongoing today, particularly in America. Although black people do have more freedom and rights now as opposed to the 20th century, racism is still a large issue.

We found out that over the past couple of years there have been a large number of incidents in which unarmed black people in America have been shot and killed by the police force. This really shocked me as, although it is shown on the news a lot, I did not expect the number of these cases to be so high.

At the end of the lecture, we were talking about how racism can be seen in our profession. I feel that with children in education, other people influence their views, for example, their parents, who may express racist views and opinions in front of their children. This means that the children  may pick up on these views and express them also.

When I arrived home, what really struck me was that I found a video that was shared on facebook called the ‘doll test’.


In the video, a group of black and white children were asked their opinions on the dolls in front of them. When asked ‘which doll is the ugly/bad doll’, almost all of the children chose the black doll. When asked why, they replied because it was black. On the other hand, when asked ‘which doll is the good/pretty doll’, again almost all chose the white doll.

What really struck me about this video is that the children who were darker skinned chose the darker skinned doll as the ugly doll. This gives the perception that they are lead to believe that their own skin colour is ‘ugly’ and that they are considered to be ‘bad’ because of their colour, and that their white peers are more ‘pretty’ and more favourable in society.

This really got me thinking and shocked and upset me quite a bit, as even young children are exposed to racism in today’s society, and proved to me that it is having an effect on not only adults, but children too.

2 thoughts on “The ‘ugly’ doll

  1. Derek Robertson

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts about the lecture and for seeking out this video clip. A lot of what we discussed today can be a little unsettling as can videos such as the one that you shared in this post. As I said earlier, it is important that we think critically about social structures and relationships and what an informed engagement with this can mean for us as professionals.

  2. Micha Klos

    I really enjoyed reading this and your take on the lecture. It opened my eyes up when I read your blog and watched the video. Really interesting to see how children responded there!
    I don’t know if you’ve seen the video that came out this week about the young girl in Charlotte speaking bravely about how racism has effected her.
    Good blog!


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