An article in the South Florida Times, “The Black Doll Collection goes on display in South Florida,” details an event called the Black Doll Affair (BDA). Designed to increase self-esteem in young African American girls, the event showcases black dolls from all over the world. Founder Dana Hill started the organization after watching Oprah’s segment on “self-image” where Kiri Davis discussed her 2005 documentary A Girl Like Me. Kiri reconstructed the iconic 1940s “Doll Test” experiment on twenty-one African American preschoolers in her community. The results were identical to the original study. Most of the children elected the white doll as “pretty and good” and black doll as “ugly and bad.” Time had not altered the skewed black identity in young children. Ms. Hill was inspired to “do something,” and created The Black Doll Affair. According to Karen Grey, South Florida Chapter Director:
‘what a girl sees is a doll, and when they see women who are dolled up, that get their attention…(we) talk to them about self-esteem and beauty…. Silent messages are very strong. (qt. in Roby 2008)
Promoting beauty of all types, the affair’s volunteers, wearing make-up and “Black Doll” logo tees, distribute black dolls to young African American girls.
In the 1940s, black psychologists Kenneth Bancroft Clark and his wife, Mamie Phipps Clark conducted experiments to study effects of segregation on African American children. The majority of the 200 Black children preferred the white doll and…