Psychologist Kenneth Clark conducting the “doll test” with a young child in 1947.

This famous “doll experiment,” a landmark in American civil rights, was constructed by Clark and his wife Mamie Clark to illustrate the impact of stereotypes and children’s self-perception in relation to their race.

The study was used to show how school segregation was negatively impacting the minds of young black children by forcing them to internalize the stereotypes of racism.

Image: Library of Congress.
Read more:

source: From the Hands of Quacks


Thor Cast & Director Kenneth Branagh

Clark Gregg, Kenneth Branagh, Kat Dennings, Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, and Tom Hiddleston.

source (x)

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Poetry Day: 10 British Actors Read 10 British Poems

By Fraser McAlpine

Today is National Poetry Day (October 2) in the UK, and the Brits have always done pretty well at providing the world with poems and people who are good at reading poems, here are 10 poetic moments, provided by some of our favorite actors and actresses.

Francisco de Goya, ‘The Third of May 1808′ [1814, Museo Nacional del Prado]

According to art historian Kenneth Clark, ‘This is the first great picture which can be called revolutionary’:

So, far from being a glorified press photograph, The Third of May was painted as a commission six years after the event and it is certain that Goya had not been an eyewitness. It is not the record of a single episode, but a grim reflection on the whole nature of power. Goya was born in the age of reason and after his illness he was obsessed by all that could happen to humanity when reason lost control. In The Third of May he shows one aspect of the irrational, the predetermined brutality of men in uniform. By a stroke of genius he has contrasted the fierce repetition of the soldiers’ attitudes and the steely line of their rifles, with the crumbling irregularity of their target. As I look at the firing squad I remember that artists have been symbolising merciless conformity by this kind of repetition since the very beginning of art. One finds it in the bowmen on Egyptian reliefs, in the warriors of Assur Nasir Pal, in the repeated shields of the giants on the Siphnian Treasury at Delphi. in all these monuments power is conveyed by abstract shapes. But the victims of power are not abstract. They are as shapeless and pathetic as old sacks; they are huddled together like animals. In the face of Murat’s firing squad they cover their eyes, or clasp their hands in prayer. And in the middle a man with a dark face throws up his arms, so that his death is a sort of crucifixion. His white shirt, laid open to the rifles, is the flash of inspiration which has ignited the whole design.[…] The Third of May is a work of the imagination.[…]

This is the first great picture which can be called revolutionary in every sense of the word in style, in subject and in intention; and it should be a model for the socialist and revolutionary painting of the present day. Unfortunately social indignation, like other abstract emotions, is not a natural generator of art; also Goya’s combination of gifts has proved to be very rare. Almost all the painters who have treated such themes have been illustrators first and artists second. Instead of allowing their feelings about an event to form a corresponding pictorial symbol in their minds, they have tried to reconstruct events, as remembered by witnesses, according to pictorial possibilities. The result is an accumulation of formulas. But in The Third of May not a single stroke is done according to formula. At every point Goya’s flash lit eye and his responsive hand have been at one with his indignation.

Read Clark’s full entry on The Third of May 1808 from his book, Looking at Pictures. See the high-res scan of the painting, and more incredible works by Goya, at the Prado.

People sometimes tell me that they prefer barbarism to civilisation. I doubt if they have given it a long enough trial. Like the people of Alexandria, they are bored by civilisation; but all the evidence suggests that the boredom of barbarism is infinitely greater.
—  Kenneth Clark

I believe order is better than chaos, creation better than destruction. I prefer gentleness to violence, forgiveness to vendetta. On the whole I think that knowledge is preferable to ignorance, and I am sure that human sympathy is more valuable than ideology.

I believe that in spite of the recent triumphs of science, men haven’t changed much in the last two thousand years; and in consequence we must try to learn from history.

—  Kenneth Clark, Civilization

[The Kenneth and Mammie Clark doll experiment] involved a child being presented with two dolls. Both of these dolls were completely identical except for the skin and hair color. One doll was white with yellow hair, while the other was brown with black hair.The child was then asked questions inquiring as to which one is the doll they would play with, which one is the nice doll, which one looks bad, which one has the nicer color, etc. The experiment showed a clear preference for the white doll among all children in the study. (x)

This study from the late 30s and 40s shows the biting effects of white supremacy on perceptions of blackness even amongst young black children. But you know what’s most tragic about the experiment? It was replicated in recent years and the results were exactly the same. I grew up wishing I had wavier “less nappy” hair. I grew up wishing I had light colored eyes or could squeeze light colored contacts onto my irises. I grew up wishing that I was 40 or 50% white instead of being “just 25%.” I understand how this self loathing feels and everytime I see this picture it brings me close to tears. Because I know that if this experiment had been conducted on me as a black child growing up in America, I would have also chosen the white doll without missing a beat. 

And people just don’t seem to get how deeply infused white supremacy is into our media and cultural fabric. You never explicitly have to tell a black child “well white people are better than you and you should hate yourself for being black” in order for you to know that is the operating logic of our racist society at large. As black people, in addition to everything else we have to deal with from police brutality, redlining and the school-to-prison pipeline to the disproportionate violence against trans black women, we also have to struggle with this internalized racism and self hatred on top of everything. We are so taught to hate ourselves in this country that quite a few black people bleach our skins. We are so taught to hate ourselves that black men in droves talk about how they would “never date a black woman,” particularly a dark skinned one, and flaunt their white and non-black significant others about while openly degrade black women. We are so taught to hate ourselves that to this day at 24 I still struggle to overcome the enormous self hatred that I’ve been taught from day one growing up in this racist, white supremacist and virulently antiblack country. So much time has passed since this experiment and yet so little has changed in our nation where white supremacy and antiblackness continue to reign supreme. And this picture reminds me of this fact every single time.