In the 1940s, psychologists Kenneth and Mamie Clark conducted experiments to assess the psychological affects of segregation on children, known as “the doll tests.” White dolls and black dolls were put in front of black children who were asked which dolls looked like them and which dolls were beautiful. The black children knew that the black dolls looked like them, but often chose the white dolls as the beautiful ones. (This experiment was cited in Brown v. Board of Education when the Supreme Court ruled that segregation in public schools is unconstitutional.)
Fast forward to 2019, when Disney casts a beautiful and talented young black woman to play the Mermaid Ariel in the live action version of The Little Mermaid. And people are losing their minds…. y’all, please. Here’s the thing, Sleeping Beauty is my favorite Disney Princess (and in case you didn’t know, I am a huge fan of Disney.) Wanna know why I love Aurora? Because when I was a child, I saw her and thought—she loves animals and singing and she’s kind and she has long, blonde, wavy hair like me! I LOVE Aurora because I’m like her and she’s like me! That’s how children sometimes think.
Therefore, I am SO excited that young black girls will look at Halle Bailey playing Ariel and have the same reaction I had when I was a child looking at Sleeping Beauty. It’s amazing and beyond time, and good on Disney’s Freeform for their response. ❤
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