In a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll, “only” 3 in 10 Americans admitted to a racial bias. According to the poll more than half of whites in the U.S. feel pretty confident that things are well in the kingdom of race relations and equality. If things are so great, and the color of someone’s skin has ceased to be a factor of discrimination and bigotry, then why are black children still choosing white dolls over dolls that are black?
In her documentary A Girl Like Me, (about 7 minutes long) young filmmaker Kiri Davis highlights the sad racial divide that still exists in American culture. In addition to interviewing young African-American women about the difficulties of finding their place and of not being accepted, Davis conducts a “doll test,” in which she asks young black children to choose the doll they prefer (between a white and black doll who look and are dressed the same). According to Davis, 15 of the 21 children chose the white doll. When asked which doll was good, several children picked the white doll. When asked which doll was bad, those same children chose the black doll. Why is that?
Why, as reported in a recent article from EW.com, are all the characters of color fading from TV?
Why, when we see ads on TV, online, billboards, magazines, etc., do we see mostly white faces, and when we do see faces of color, they’re often associated with a stereotype, such as something “ethnic” or tribal?
Why are many of the toxic waste facilities and polluting industries situated next to neighborhoods of the poor and usually non-white?
It’s easy for white people in the U.S. to accept and assume that discrimination and racism are the exception, rather than a too frequent occurrence, because we live in a culture of white privilege. As Allan Johnson says in Privilege, Power & Difference:
“That’s all that’s required of most white people in order for racism to continue: that they not notice, that they do nothing, that they remain silent….We don’t have to be ruthless people in order to support or follow paths of least resistance that lead to behavior with ruthless consequences.”
Take some time to observe: when you see ads, watch TV, browse through a brochure – who’s represented there? When you read the news, how are people of color portrayed? Are there as many positive, uplifting stories about people of color as there are ones about illegal immigrants, criminals and celebrities? Think about your daily actions and ask yourself: Does everyone have this same opportunity? Would everyone be treated equally if in this situation?
What needs to happen – what choices do we each need to make – so that our world becomes one of love, acceptance, justice, and one where children of all colors and cultures have plenty of positive role models to choose from?
Filed under: films, human rights, Racism | Tagged: discrimination, people of color, privilege, race, Racism | Leave a comment »