Friday, September 15, 2006

Some things never change???? Black Self-Esteem???

The video below is done by Kiri Davis and its entitled "A girl like me." It's a short film from the Media that Matters Film Festival. Dance posted the link to it on her page earlier this week and I found myself too busy to check it out, then my sister sent me to it, so I decided to watch it. Honestly, it made me cry, literally. I just grabbed it off of youtube so you could click on it directly and not be like me and just pass it by. One click. Please watch it.

One of the reasons I cried was that for someone who studies race and children everyday, in someways I have to believe or want to believe "things have changed." Her "replication" of the doll study, was the thing got me gushing tears. As a social scientist I've toiled over, rationalized, and critiqued the Clark findings by saying, well the doll was painted, etc. which had an effect ... blah, blah, fucking blah! There is something powerful and clear about this video. Scientifically we'll always debate self-esteem among African-Americans, but I'm not sure science can tell us some of the things that we're living.


Anonymous said...

That video really opened my eyes to where the African American race is in the 21st century. It shocks and hurts me that we really haven't progressed that far from the civil rights days. It makes me want to shake every person of color and say, "We are just as good, if not better, than the white race. Why do you feel you are less than them?!" It also makes me look at myself and my mannerisms around white people. I work in retail and I've caught myself averting my eyes or looking down when speaking to white customers; and I don't know where I got that habit because my mother always taught me to be proud of all the races that made me who I am. I'm beginning to think that the propaganda in the media is definitely brainwashing us. They want all people of color to believe that the white race is the majority. However I believe those of us who have mixed backgrounds and the "minority groups" are those who are the majority. We just need to realize that we are just as good as any white person.
How to get that message out there is the battle. Thanks for the video, it was a wake up call.

ashwini said...

Dumi, I am sitting here bawling like a baby right now, and yes, it was that part with the little kids that got to me. Because even if, in best-case scenario, those kids were just giving the answers that they thought the interviewer wanted--they still have internalized that adult/authority figures expect them to deem whiteness as "nice" or "good" and black as "bad"! It's just awful...and not only limited to the Black community of course, but is present in different forms in so many communities of color. Self-hatred and internalization of whiteness as good and non-whiteness as bad is always the root of it. I remember my younger sister writing little stories when she was in kindergarten and first grade, where she was the main character--except her name was "Jenny Brown!" The beautiful Indian name she had was one of the sources of her othering, and she just wished she could have a "normal" name like all the others...just broke my heart, espeically because I knew and continue to know exactly what that feels like. Thanks for posting this though; it made me realize how sensitive and deep these issues are for me even after my college education and my assertion that I love who I am and would never want to change the way I look or where I come from--I still know the self-hatred that these innocent children are displaying. And there, that got me bawling again.

Brandon Q. said...

Powerful post Dumi,

I don't know where to start but I was moved during the part of the video featuring the kids. I wonder if we could conduct this same experiment with Black adults who knew their responses would not be judged or otherwise concealed, how similar would their responses be to the children? I am really speechless though. Everyone can take part in the blame but how do you begin to explain the kid's responses?

And how should we raise Black children to reverse this inferiority complex?

My people, my people....