The Case of the Black Barbie Doll

H. Roy Kaplan, Teaching Tolerance (SPLC), April 5, 2011

Leslie, a 38-year-old social worker who counsels children with stressful life situations, found her 4-year-old daughter, Sophia, engaged in animated play with her dolls. She watched incredulously as Sophia invited the four white dolls with blonde hair to a tea party while the dark-skinned doll with black hair lay alone across the room.

“Why isn’t that doll going to the tea party?” she inquired.

“She’s dead,” replied Sophia matter-of-factly.

“Dead? How can that be? She’s just like the other dolls. Why can’t she play with them?”

“They don’t want to play with her.”

“Why is that?”

“Because she has dark skin,” replied Sophia.

Leslie’s mouth dropped to the floor as she fought back tears. How could this be? Hadn’t she and her husband worked diligently to teach her child to be inclusive? Sophia had a variety of multicultural toys and books. She was only allowed to watch progressive television shows like Sesame Street, Dora the Explorer, Diego, the Backyardigans and Yo Gabba Gabba. An only child, she attended an expensive, supposedly inclusive pre-kindergarten school which included children of color.

“Sweet Pea,” said Leslie, plaintively, “you’re hurting that doll’s feelings. You’ve got to let her play with the other dolls.”

“She can’t. She’s in jail,” Sophia replied as she rationalized her decision to exclude the dark-skinned doll.

This scenario has probably been repeated in countless homes and classrooms around the country. {snip}

I [Sophia’s grandfather] naturally thought of the doll experiments conducted by Kenneth and Mamie Clark in the 1940s. {snip}

Social scientists attribute negative attitudes toward blackness to historical and cultural processes in our society that perpetuate perceptions of dark skin as inferior to white, stigmatizing blacks and other ethnic minorities as being lazy, shiftless, and uneducable–attitudes that affect the achievement gap in educational attainment between blacks and Latinos versus whites and Asians. {snip}

Such stereotypes have even been accepted by people victimized by them, a process called stereotype threat. Some parents and teachers do not recognize the pervasive effect that white culture has on children from other ethnic groups. And we can see how negative stereotypes persist despite efforts to change them.

We can break this cycle by using multicultural materials in the home and classroom. But they should be accompanied by experiential activities that help children understand, appreciate and identify with the issues faced by children from other cultures–what educator, Jane Elliott did in her Iowa classroom by separating brown and blue-eyed children.

We may never know what triggered Sophia’s behavior with the dolls. But when Leslie showed her a photograph of her sitting alongside her cousin, Dabney, a Haitian child adopted by her aunt and uncle, a broad smile creased her face. She reached for the dark-skinned doll and pushed her into the toy car with the others. “They’re all going to the party now,” she said cheerfully.

{snip}

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  • Question Diversity

    If little Sophia were operating a real tea party, all the white dolls would be in the audience, while the little black doll would be on stage delivering nonsense theatrics about MLK being a “conservative,” about all those blacks that contributed to the American War for Independence, with tiny little Allen West and Herman Cain banners strewn about the room. All while Sophia buys everything from Glenn Beck’s sponsors using her parents’ credit card.

  • GetBackJack

    My Lord, is this story even about a real incident? What parent would hang their own child out to dry like this? Not a good one in my book. The social engineers have done a great job of brainwashing American parents into a cloud of hopeless stupidity.

    Nature trumps everything, including social engineering.

  • Anonymous

    She was only allowed to watch progressive television shows like Sesame Street, Dora the Explorer, Diego, the Backyardigans and Yo Gabba Gabba.

    Thanks for giving me a list of shows my infant son won’t be allowed to watch!

  • SoCal Local

    The dark-skinned doll is in jail, or dead(LOL). Sophia was aptly named. This girl deserves high marks for seeing reality and not letting herself be cowed by anyone who denies it. I hope she persists in believing evidence rather than fables; but with that harridan for a mom, I worry she will not escape, wits intact.

  • Anonymous

    I wonder how Sophie would react if she was old enough to understand rape, and that Hatians love to rape White women? My guess is one of those dolls would be headed to jail again.

    BTW Sophie’s mom, you are a horrible human being. You have done your best to ensure that your daughter’s chance to survive and pass on her genes has been disrupted. Oh well, some blacks will be happy, and that’s the whole point of the universe, right?

  • whiteboybuffalo

    What are we to do? I read stories like this and it reminds me of the cabbage patch craze! I went to buy my 2 nieces each a doll! I was in the store (national chain) I grabbed 1 white doll and pushed and shoved through several dark skinned dolls. Well a female (black) asked me what was wrong with the dolls i shoved aside? I responded by saying well they are for my little nieces not your little girl or boy. I found a nice Blond doll placed it in my cart. the woman called me a bigot! I told her no I am not. Just not sending Mixed messages to my family. I looked back at the line and laughed.

  • Anonymous

    That darn poor black doll. . . and yet very real white children are ignored (at best) by these very same purveyors of ‘tolerance’ at our schools and no one says a thing.

  • Vick

    These are the sort of problems that upper middle class liberal white women living in the few remaining majority white parts of the country come up with to occupy their time.

    The reality of day to day life in America has outpaced these almost charming and naive old school forms of liberal self-flagellation and hand-wringing.

    In another generation or two, the last non-suicidal whites in this country will be desperately clinging to their identity in a society that has turned utterly hostile to them and which will be seeking to finish breeding them out of existence entirely.

    Anxiety over the skin color of Barbie Dolls will seem like the least of their problems.

  • Anonymous

    Apparently black children color-code behaviors in an identical fashion as all the other races. Said another way, it appears that stereotypes can be the product of observations of large groups and how they behave.

  • sbuffalonative

    “This scenario has probably been repeated in countless homes and classrooms around the country. But it was a real situation that wrenched Leslie and me, as we tried to come to a resolution to the problem. You see, Sophia is my granddaughter, and I happened to be visiting when this incident occurred. As an advocate for civil rights and a diversity trainer, the family looked to me for an answer.”

    This scenarios seems a bit too perfect but it’s said to be real. My first thought was that it was written by a woman but the name says H. ROY Kaplan. At the end, the author is referred to only as Kaplan. As with many of these types of articles, they seem to make a deliberate effort to hide facts and information so that people won’t make assumptions or draw ‘the wrong’ conclusions.

    “We can break this cycle by using multicultural materials in the home and classroom.”

    Clearly we can’t. As the author stated, the family did everything right. The right TV programs, the right multiCULT school, and the right in-home indoctrination. They did everything right but Sophia got it all wrong. I wonder why.

    “We may never know what triggered Sophia’s behavior with the dolls.”

    What the author doesn’t tell us is if they questioned Sophia about her actual real-life interaction with blacks and other non-whites. Could it be that Sophia has some real-life, in-your-face contact with blacks didn’t weren’t like those on Sesame Street or Yo Gabba Gabba?

    The left has always lied that ‘racism’ is born of ignorance when the fact, racial awareness is born of experience.

    Sophia is likely a victim of both blacks and her family.

  • Anonymous

    At first I just knew this was a lampoon of feminized multicultural liberalism. After all, even the most crazed multicult social totalitarians are not this deluded and grotesquely indoctrinated, I thought. But then I did a bit of digging, and found that the author is one H. Roy Kaplan, a white male “sociologist” teaching in the “Africana Studies” department, at a USF. It all made perfect sense to me then. No wonder a college education is worthless, these days.

  • Sylvie

    Leslie’s mouth dropped to the floor as she fought back tears. How could this be? Hadn’t she and her husband worked diligently to teach her child to be inclusive? Sophia had a variety of multicultural toys and books. She was only allowed to watch progressive television shows like Sesame Street, Dora the Explorer, Diego, the Backyardigans and Yo Gabba Gabba. An only child, she attended an expensive, supposedly inclusive pre-kindergarten school which included children of color.

    Ohhhh, stop it, you’re killing me!

    After all that and it’s not working! I can imagine Leslie running into the kitchen where her husband is cooking a quiche and yelling, nay screeching hysterically, ‘Oh my God! It’s not working, it’s not working!

    That aside, this whole scenario smells slightly of utter fabrication! Little adopted Dabney from Haiti was just the icing on the cake.

  • Tim in Indiana

    Leslie’s mouth dropped to the floor as she fought back tears. How could this be? Hadn’t she and her husband worked diligently to teach her child to be inclusive? Sophia had a variety of multicultural toys and books. She was only allowed to watch progressive television shows like Sesame Street, Dora the Explorer, Diego, the Backyardigans and Yo Gabba Gabba. An only child, she attended an expensive, supposedly inclusive pre-kindergarten school which included children of color.

    Hey, I’ve got an idea! Why don’t you all move to Detroit, where you can be surrounded by all that “multiculturalism” and “diversity” you claim to adore? That ought to teach Sophia that all those terrible things about nonwhites are just “stereotypes,” and you could save a lot of money on expensive preschools too! How about it? Huh?

  • Question Diversity

    8 Vick:

    The very demographic you just described, if you’re describing women who are lucky enough to be married to the last few white men who can support an upper middle class household on just his income, is the quintessential “soccer mom” that politicians drool over every two and four years.

    Personally, I’m insulted that political strategists sucker politicians and candidates for public office that such a small lucky demographic of people should pretty much have the sole power to decide the outcomes of elections, as if their one vote counts any more than that of a working class white woman who has to work because the wage scale has been reduced over the last generation or more.

    In the “oh so close” Presidential election of 2000, the New York Times checked in with a story from St. Louis, from a shopping mall in what was thought to be a swing suburb in what was thought to be a swing county in what was thought to be a swing state. The NYT interviewed this one white woman shopping at the mall (which is now a dead mall, though not for the usual reasons), profiled her economic situation (soccer mom, married to a six-figure husband), and insinuated that she and she alone would decide the winner of the election, a la the movie “Swing Vote” (which would come out later). She told the NYT that she was undecided.

    Here you go. I was agonizing on whether I should vote for Bush, Buchanan or Howard Phillips. PJB would have been the slam dunk choice for me, expect I really didn’t want a non-white one heartbeat away from the Presidency. Bush was too establishmentarian, and Howard Phillips was too perennial. I wound up voting for PJB simply because he was PJB, and I knew that he didn’t have a chance of winning, so my fears about Ezola Foster were moot anyway. Yet the New York Times gave more credibility to this oblivious soccer mom in terms of deciding the winner than they would give yours truly, in the same metropolitan area. Did my one vote count less than hers?

    The sad reality is that such people wind up having disproportionate leverage over electoral politics, simply because the strategists sucker the politicians into thinking they do. A self-fulfilling prophecy, if you will.

  • Mike H.

    Leslie should be proud. At four years old her daughter is already wiser and more intelligent than she is at thirty-eight.

  • berin

    Hey man, it “ain’t no stereotype if it’s true” as Dizzy Dean once said. Why are public housing nearly all black? Why do they always lead in STD’s, bastardy, crime, violence, littering, illegal dumping, school failure? They follow the white man everywhere all the while whining about fictitious oppression.

    The truth cannot be suppressed forever.

  • Spartan24

    I don’t believe the story either. Kids generally like to play with dolls that resemble themselves so it is my guess that the little girl just was’nt playing with the doll and her mother and grandmother cooked up the rest of the story. My daughter hates Sesame Street, I don’t allow her to watch Dora or Diego but frankly most children’s programing is made by ultra liberal educational establishment people and has to be run by the PC police so that it does not or even has the potential to “offend” any super sensitive minority.

  • Seneca the Younger

    I have greatly enjoyed ALL of your comments so far. They are all perfect and there is nothing to add that hasn’t been said, except this:

    Follow the link to the original article. It is absolutely hilarious and disgusting at the same time. The original article’s comments literally sound like tips on brainwashing. It’s sick!

    These are the types of parents social services should be monitoring.

  • kitty

    “We can break this cycle by using multicultural materials in the home and classroom. But they should be accompanied by experiential activities that help children understand, appreciate and identify with the issues faced by children from other cultures—what educator, Jane Elliott did in her Iowa classroom by separating brown and blue-eyed children.”

    Oh, this must be where the parents messed up! They left out the brainwash, er, “experiential activities” part.

  • Anonymous

    Some parents and teachers do not recognize the pervasive effect that white culture has on children from other ethnic groups.

    Surely the only way to protect them is to take them out of this evil white culture. I have no problem with being called evil as long as others get out, and get out now.

  • Anonymous

    Meanwhile in another home not too far away a white barbie doll is likely being smashed and repeatedly throw on the floor in what amounts to ‘fun’. I’m guessing in this case, no longer does abuse of animals or inanimate objects lead to other crimes. The parents in the case, very possibly black, asian or latino studies assistants, likely find this behavior funny too. Don’t expect to read about it in the paper.

  • Anonymous

    Leslie is frantic that her daughter will embarrass her in front of Dabny’s parents.Little Dabdy will probably be more like his biological parents than his adoptive parents.I hadn’t thought about the stress of the relatives with all these Haitians adoptions..

  • The incredible white machine

    What i’d like to know is what kind of parenting is it that Kids that age know the word “dead” and “jail”? And don’t forget to tell your little girl that the black doll was half price on clearance at wal-mart like they were two years ago.

  • HH

    You can bet your bottom dollar that this tale is as phoney as the underlying messgage it sends!! Just how gullable do they think people are?

    Wait, don’t answer that…

  • Anonymous

    Leslie’s mouth dropped to the floor as she fought back tears. How could this be? Hadn’t she and her husband worked diligently to teach her child to be inclusive? Sophia had a variety of multicultural toys and books. {snip} An only child, she attended an expensive, supposedly inclusive pre-kindergarten school which included children of color. {snip} We can break this cycle by using multicultural materials in the home and classroom.

    By the author’s own admission, we obviously can NOT break this cycle by using multicultural training. By the author’s own admission, this family used PLENTY of such training. This family “did everything right” yet their child still came out “wrong.”

    Maybe you’re trying to change something that can’t be changed. Maybe you should just stop trying.

  • olewhitelady

    As other commenters have pointed out, this is obviously a made-up tale that shouts the fact. Liberals see nothing wrong with lies as long as their points are made. The truth would do only the opposite.

  • Anonymous

    Poster #12 says…..That aside, this whole scenario smells slightly of utter fabrication! Little adopted Dabney from Haiti was just the icing on the cake.

    —————————————————————-

    This is exactly what this phoney article is! If it even happens to be true, the White parents need to be charged with a HATE crime against their White daughter. How many of these “stories” are shoved down the throats of our White children daily showing how “racist” they are if they dare show NORMAL God given instincts?

  • Anonymous

    First of all, the story of the girl playing with dolls at the beginning is a lie. Never happened. It is %100 fabricated. The “brilliant” author of this piece thought his little anecdote would be a great reinforcement for his tripe about social engineering and tolorance. Anyone with half a brain, a non indoctrinated brain, could tell his little story is a complete fairy tail. I don’t think I need to break it down as to why, but the situations and dialogue of the little girl are just a little too convienient. It is all designed to make a guilt-ridden white moron faint dramatically and say “Oh No!! How could this be? We must change it at all costs!”

    Mr. H. Roy Kaplan, not everyone is as stupid as you would like to believe. I just called your bluff.

  • Jack

    “…perpetuate perceptions of dark skin as inferior to white, stigmatizing blacks and other ethnic minorities as being lazy, shiftless, and uneducable…”

    They aren’t “perceptions” dingbat, they are fact, that’s why the achievement gap never closes.

    “…blacks and Latinos versus whites and Asians…”

    Notice the subtle effect here of grouping Whites and Asians.

    The inferior just can’t handle successful minorities.

  • JPC

    This “story” is entirely made up to make this point in the article: “Some parents and teachers do not recognize the pervasive effect that white culture has on children from other ethnic groups. And we can see how negative stereotypes persist despite efforts to change them.” Even the article’s title, “Teaching Tolerance” gives it away. This was likely written to support that ridiculous “conference” on so-called “white privilege” being held later this month. http://www.whiteprivilegeconference.com/ Last night, Hannity had on some “professor” who claimed that it was not a waste of money to have school districts pay for their teachers to attend. At least the professor got something right when he said that America was “created by white people for white people.” However, that America ended decades ago.

  • Anonymous

    24 — HH wrote at 8:01 AM on April 14:

    “You can bet your bottom dollar that this tale is as phoney as the underlying messgage it sends!! Just how gullable do they think people are?

    Wait, don’t answer that…”

    These kinds of crackpot stories are everywhere now. I was listening to a talk radio station not too long ago and the topic was race. This White female caller phoned in started fawning over her black maid and how she just loved her like family. The tone in her voice was unconvincing and she said she let her ten year old son go with her to Jamaica every year to visit her relatives. What mother is going to let her ten year old son go with her black maid to some carribbean shanty town? I used to think this sort of tripe was directed at blacks as a show of solidarity with them but even blacks know about these people’s hypocrisy. I frankly don’t understand the point of these fanciful tales.

  • Sylvie

    3 — Anonymous wrote at 6:17 PM on April 13:

    She was only allowed to watch progressive television shows like Sesame Street, Dora the Explorer, Diego, the Backyardigans and Yo Gabba Gabba.

    Thanks for giving me a list of shows my infant son won’t be allowed to watch!

    Yes, I’ve just banned them from the house. I was never keen on ‘Sesame Street’ and ‘Dora’ and ‘Diego’ are just insidious agents of ‘La raza.’ Would some of you American people mind filling me in about ‘The Backyardigans’ and ‘Yo Gabba Gabba’? I’m not familiar with those and needless to say ‘Yo Gabba Gabba’ doesn’t sound too good.

  • Duran Dahl

    Left-think is a form of mental illness with liberalism being at the “neurotic” end and full blown Cultural Marxism at the “psychotic” pole. Facts are meaningless to the true-believers and represent “hate.” Their methodology of fighting “hate” is the purest manifestation of true hatred available. What part of South Africa and Rhodesia don’t they understand? Leftists do a fine job of ensconcing themselves in white enclaves whilst striving to shove the disarmed white masses into diverse areas where they can be preyed upon by well-armed, left-agitated non-whites. If only they would lead us to their utopia from the front instead of lily-white suburbs and gated communities. Patience folks, there will be a reckoning.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t believe a word of this. I especially don’t believe that the black doll was in jail. The average 4 year old doesn’t even know what jail is.

    I’m one of 4 sisters. I have 2 daughters and 5 nieces. My daughters friends spent most of their time at our house. Never have I seen children pretending one of their dolls is dead.

    Most 4 year olds are unaware of death except for grandparents and great grand parents. Thinking back, I think I was about 10 years old before I realized that children and young and middleaged people died.

    I remember when our parish priest died when I was about 10. I was shocked because he did not have gray hair. Until then I thought that only old people died.

    Like SPLC hate crimes stories, this story is entirely false.

    As for the 1940’s study, I always assumed that the White dolls were the latest Christmas best seller and the black dolls were old, used and mauled and torn to look dirty and ugly.

  • Anonymous

    I have 3 granddaughters under the age of six. Little girls don’t have doll tea parties any more.

    And that bit about the Haitian cousin what a load of #%^&*&^#.

    She forgot all about the haitian cousin until shown a picture of him? I was a teacher in an all black school. Knowing black boys as I do, especially a Haitian I doubt the girl is safe with him.

    35 years ago I took my daughter out of nursery school after the first week. A black boy who outweighed her by about 20 pounds beat her up. The multicultural *&^%##&^% who ran the school told me my daughter had to “learn to stand up for herself.”

    So I removed her.

    Had it been a White child who beat up a black child the White child would have been charged with hate crime and expelled as are White children who dare to defend themselves when attacked by the black thugs who have turned our schools into Lord of The Flies nightmares.