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read_me.gif Southern Voice Washington Blade

Watch A Girl Like Me

Revealing documentary

by j. brotherlove

Scene from A Girl Like MeI was recently reminded of A Girl Like Me, a short documentary directed by Kiri Davis, a high school student who lives in New York City. The seven-minute film reveals how far our society has come in its attitudes toward race since the 1940s. Or not.

In the 1940s, Dr. Kenneth Clark and his wife designed and conducted a landmark experiment in which black children were given a black doll and a white doll, and then asked questions to see which one they preferred and why. Overwhelmingly, the children chose the white doll. The Clarks concluded that “prejudice, discrimination, and segregation” caused black children to develop a sense of inferiority and self-hatred.

Kiri Davis recreated the experiment for her modern-day documentary. The results, 50 years later, are shockingly the same. While we are painfully aware of pervading racism in America, watching the black children associate “nice” with “white” and “bad” with “black” is heartbreaking. In addition to the doll test, Kiri conducts brief interviews with black teenage girls who discuss their experiences with hairstyle, skin color and bleaching.

A Girl Like Me is produced by Reel Works Teen Filmmaking, a free after-school program supported by HBO that challenges high school students to create short documentary films about their lives.

You can watch the video, part of 2006’s Media That Matters Film Festival, online. Afterwards, read more about talented Kiri Davis and her documentary.

pub: 02/07/2007 | previous entry | next entry | feedback x 2 | subscribe
1. Anitra

I’m always looking for documentaries about women to show at work. I wish this one was a bit longer than 7 minutes, but might be worth taking a look at (if not for work, just because). I’m especially interested in those interviews with black teenage girls.

P.S. Your posts for the last couple of months have been off the chain!

Thanks, Anitra. I appreciate your appreciation (hehe). When I get a minute, I’ll shoot you a list of documentaries about women that I know about.