Wednesday, February 07, 2007

A Girl Like Me

A Girl Like Me is a 10 minute film created by a 17 year old New Yorker, Kiri Davis. Ms. Davis interviews other black teens who quite articulately discuss how they see themselves as black females and how those images are created. It is heart breaking to see beautiful young women describe feeling unattractive because of skin color and hair texture.

More heartbreaking is Kiri's recreation of Dr. Kenneth Clark's experiments done in the early 1950s. Clark's test played a key role in the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision, showing how separation inherently led to feelings of inequality. Just as in Dr. Clark's day, in Kiri's test 15 out of 21 black children chose the white doll as being "nice" or "pretty" and the black doll as "bad."

I do object to the film maker showing the children's faces, they and the families may be embarassed or feel exploited. Aside from that I hope that the film is widely circulated. The teens do give us some measure of hope with their insight and wisdom. It makes the juxtaposition of the small children who believe they are bad or ugly all the more poignant.