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Politics » Mexicans Recreate ‘Black Doll-White Doll’ Experiment to Measure Skin Color Preference South of the Border

Mexicans Recreate ‘Black Doll-White Doll’ Experiment to Measure Skin Color Preference South of the Border

In attempt to measure the degree to which Mexican children are affected by the legacy of European colonialism and the present day images they are bombarded with via the media, researchers in Mexico conducted an experiment modeled after the famous 1940’s Clark study that was designed to measure skin color preference in black American children.

Mexico’s National Council to Prevent Discrimination, or CONAPRED, are circulating a video in which children who are mestizos, or half-Spanish, half-Indian, are asked to pick  the “good doll,” and the doll that most resembles them. The children, mostly brown-skinned, almost uniformly say the white doll was “better” or was most like them.

“Which doll is the good doll?” a woman’s voice asks one child.

“I am not afraid of whites,” he responds, pointing to the white doll. “I have more trust.”

Mexicans who viewed the video online said that they were disturbed but not surprised by the results.

Some comments on the video have noted that the options were “very limiting” in that the children were offered only black and white, or good and bad as choices.

“It is a poorly formulated question, it is pretentious,” one viewer said on the website VivirMexico.

Others say the study reveals a deep-seated prejudice that is taught to Mexican children from an early age.

Wilner Metelus, a sociology professor and leader of a committee advocating for Afro-Mexicans and black immigrants, said the doll video shows the prevalence of racism and the need to educate young people.

“The Mexican state still does not officially recognize Afro-Mexicans. There are few texts that talk about the presence of Africans in Mexico,” Metelus said. “We need a project in the schools to show that the dark children are just the same as them, as the lighter children. And not only in schools; it is also necessary in Mexican families.”

Luz Maria Martinez, a leading anthropologist on Afro-Mexican culture, said, “We do not know how to value the indigenous culture, which is very rich, or the African culture, which is as great as any in the world.” –kathleen cross



  1. Anonymous on January 7, 2012 at 11:59 am

    Systemitized racism pure and simple.  In the mid-90’s I visited Tia Juana, Mexico.  On the main street of the market, I saw two beautiful dark-skinned Mexican women with huge Angela Davis-esque afros who favored Carmen McCrae.  They definitely had African facial features.  I was so excited to see these proud sisters, but lo’ and behold my enthusiasm was dashed to bits.  I speak fluent Spanish and I told them how proud I feel to see my people down here in Mexico.  They were a wee bit perturbed and replied, “No Senor!.”  Nuestros padres son de Mexico y somos 100% Mexicanos!  No tenemos ni una traza de sangre Africana!”  “No Mister!  Our parents are from Mexico and we are 100% Mexicans.  We don’t have a speck of African blood!”  Anyway, I was confused as to why they would wear Afros and deny their African identity.  Oh well, I said to myself, purchased my juraches (Mexican tire-soled leather shoes) and trotted back across the border. Western ‘civilization, culture  & history’ have always demonized its African counter parts.    Fanteeking

    • Anonymous on January 8, 2012 at 7:13 pm

      Thanks for your reply.  So glad to hear about your personal experiences.  I have witnesses this prejudiced mess from them in my community and I tell them all the time, even the nicer ones, that until they give Afro-Mexicans respect and acknowledge their presence and contributions, I will never, ever be okay with any of the Hispanic/ Latino community using civil rights movement tactics to further their cause and step on our necks in the process. 
        To Luz Maria Martinez I wish you well in your fight. You are in this for the long haul and may not see your goal until you’ve closed your eyes for good. 
        To Kathleen Cross, bless you for writing this article.  In the future I will share this with other people because this is a story that must be spoken about.  We’re living in communities with them among us and they hate us.  I used to live in Port Richmond, in Staten Island, NY and it’s like a crime to walk down that main street while Black.  Our leadership has sold us out for Latino/Hispanic alliances but the hearts of most Black working folks wants them out of their communities, schools, jobs and wherever else they don’t belong. 
        Up in Staten Island many are now saying they’re Native Indians.  I don’t doubt that however I take the time to always mention that the entire NYC area is part of the Lenape Indian tribe which once called these boroughs of NY Lenapehoking.  It’s not Incan, Mayan or Olmec. 
        It is time for them to receive an attitude adjustment.

  2. Keeping it Real on January 8, 2012 at 1:21 am

    They should of had a Mexican doll and withe doll.

  3. Anonymous on January 8, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    I agree. They should have had a brown, latino doll with asian eyes to ensure there was no mix-up.  Even Mexican comedians are self hating.  Expecially that George  Lopez who states his aunts are “very dark” and unattractive.  Their lives must be hell in that country.  However, they still count themselves as better than blacks.  That’s why they come here and feel they have the right to move us out of what we’ve built.  “Negritos” are of no consequence to them.  The next thing you know they will try to take over Atlanta. They already own Chicago.  My only regret is that my niece married one of them and has 5 kids by him. I’m still sick about it. I know it’s not right to feel this way but I’ll have to work on getting past it.  

    • CBcoy on December 24, 2013 at 10:25 am

      JustAcitizen3 go there and move you out what youve built? What, like california? actually forget california what about the US. Your not fucking native are you? Piss off you fucking parasite work on it all you like but already its too late. PS. Im not from the US im from Scotland

  4. Kathleen Cross on January 9, 2012 at 5:06 am

    It’s troubling whenever hateful rhetoric is thrown around calling human beings “those people” and using “they” to lump all people in when describing a group of behaviors. 

    One of the commenters here really just sounds like they hold the same attitudes towards Latinos that white supremacists hold towards black people. Prejudice and hatred based on someone’s nationality are ugly no matter what color the skin of the person doing the hating.

    I wrote a piece about actor Edward James Olmos and his work on this issue. He exposes his own family’s resistance to the idea that Mexicans are also African… 
    Many people of Latin descent do hold negative and racist views towards blacks, but many don’t, and to lump everyone together is as bad as any racist saying all blacks are____ (fill in negative stereotype here).

  5. David on May 7, 2013 at 3:50 am

    I believe that even if you could perfectly control for socially learned preferences, human beings naturally assign value to colors and the color black simply has an innate negative connotation somehow. Possibly, this bias against black is related to night time darkness, a fear of the dark and what may lurk unseen in darkness. I imagine that if you conducted an experiment with 2 identical snakes, one green and one black, most subjects would express more revulsion toward the black snake.

  6. Jonesy on January 12, 2014 at 3:17 am

    “Maiden fair” is one of the oldest concepts in the world. Women want to be delicate and feminine-fragile, with rare and valuable qualities. Inevitably this leads to the notion that more lightness equals more feminine. Japanese women practiced looking like porcelain figurines for hundreds of years. Upper class women in all cultures sought to distinguish themselves from the female peasantry somehow. How could they not, they’re women, right? “Of the earth”, colorwise represented low born. “Of the sky” colorwise–something rare and valuable-high born. It’s inescapable: low, high, lower, upper, earth, sky. I don’t agree with this. I’m white. But it is the nature of class and femininity to divide up world a certain way. And these values occurred in Asia without even the knowledge of Caucasian existence. Not everything is imposed. Some things are innate. There’s no dragons, but virtually all cultures have them in their mythology. Maiden fair-part of the human organism, kids. Can’t blame Whites for everything.