Picking the white doll or black doll in Mexico

The Mexican government has started a conversation about racism based on a video that shows an experiment where children have to pick between a black and white doll:

Is Mexico’s an inherently racist society? Does the culture overwhelmingly favor those with light skin over those with dark skin? And if so, is that a legacy of European colonialism or present-day images in television and advertising?

These are among the thorny questions emerging in online forums in Mexico since a government agency began circulating a “viral video” showing schoolchildren in a taped social experiment on race.

The kids are seated at a table before a white doll and a black doll, and are asked to pick the “good doll” or the doll that most resembled them. The children, mostly brown-skinned, almost uniformly say the white doll was better or most resembled them…

Mexico’s National Council to Prevent Discrimination, or Conapred, in mid-December began circulating the video, modeled on the 1940s Clark experiments in the United States. The children who appear in it are mostly mestizos, or half-Spanish, half-Indian, and a message said they were taped with the consent of their parents and told to respond as freely as they could.

See the full video here.

This reminds of Jane Elliott’s famous blue-eyed, brown-eyed experiment with a third-grade class (highlights here). One of the most powerful parts of this exercise is the fact that these are supposedly innocent children who are quite capable of reflecting the racist attitudes of society. Similarly, the doll video suggests that even young children know full well about race and what skin color is valued more.

I can only imagine the outcry if a US government agency released a video like this…

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