Why black kids have negative self-image
Chicago Sun Times Jan 28 2007
Next Sunday, Lovie Smith will be the first black head coach in the Super Bowl -- as will his mentor, Tony Dungy of the Indianapolis Colts. So no matter who wins -- the Chicago Bears or that other team -- Super Bowl 41 guarantees that for the first time in professional football the world champions will be coached by an African American. That's the two steps forward. Now the giant step back.
After more than two decades of Oprah, the Queen of All
Media, you'd think that young black girls would have a better self-image. They
don't. Black boys neither. In our world of bleached blonds -- white-skinned,
brown-skinned and black -- black's not beautiful, at least not among the
majority of African-American preschool children interviewed by Kiri Davis, a
high school student at
History repeats in "A Girl Like Me."
"Can you show me the doll that looks bad?"
"And why does that look bad?"
"Because she's black," the little girl answers.
"And why is this the nice doll?"
"A Girl like Me" also features African-American teenage girls talking about perceptions of race. Two of the girls discuss the "good hair/bad hair" standard, explaining that the more naturally straight the hair, the better quality it is thought to be.
It's amazing that two generations after the "Black
is Beautiful" mantra of the 1960s, some African Americans still believe
that it's not. It's amazing that four decades after James Brown's chart-
topper, "I'm Black and I'm Proud," so many African Americans aren't.
It's amazing that in the same year hip-hop artist Kanye West told the world
that "President Bush doesn't care about black people,"
It's amazing, but I can see how it's come about. Our children receive mixed messages. In the world of hip-hop, where black blonds proliferate and the N-word resonates, children are bombarded with video images of butt-shaking, almost-naked, black Kewpie dolls.
In the world of the Internet,
"The sad thing about this article is that the essence of it is true. The truth hurts. I just hope this sets more black people in motion toward making real progress," the e-mail bemoans before admonishing the receiver to "help prove them wrong! Read and pass on."
Beneath that is a photograph of a white woman, Dee Lee,
a certified financial planner, who, the e-mail tells us, reads these words on
The e-mail continues with the rest of the words it says Dee Lee read, and they are no less insulting. There is one problem with the provocative e-mail: mistaken identity. There is another Dee Lee. He looks like the brown doll. This Dee Lee is a black comedian and host of Dee Lee Reality Radio.
Ahhhh, how about those Bears?
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES 2007
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