negro child

Sorpresa. Buenos Aires. Argentina. 2017

The Clark Doll Test was created by Dr. Kenneth Clark and his wife, Marmie Clark. It focused on stereotypes and self perception in relation to race. Clark wanted to show that segregation in schools was misconstruing the mind of young African American children and causing them to internalise racism and view themselves as lesser. In the test, African American children ranging from 6-years-old to 9-years-old were shown two dolls - one was white and one was black. They were asked a number of questions such as:  Show me the doll that you like best or that you would like to play with. Show me the doll that is the ‘nice’ doll. Show me the doll that looks 'bad.’ Give me the doll that looks like a white child. Give me the doll that looks like a coloured child. Give me the doll that looks like a Negro child. Give me the doll that looks like you. The test showed that the children preferred to play with with white doll as opposed to the black doll. The children were then asked to colour in a human figure with the colour of their own skin - the majority chose a lighter shade. As well as this, the children gave the white doll positive attributes such as “good” and “pretty” while describing the black doll as “bad” and “ugly”. 44% of the children said that the white doll looked like them as opposed to the black doll. This test indicated that African American children, even as young as just 6-years-old, suffered internalised racism due to segregation. The findings paved the way for an increase in psychological research into areas of self-esteem and self-concept.

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