How many times can you replicate an experiment before its underlying questions and possible conclusions turn banal? You’d think the conclusions of the 70 year old Kenneth and Mamie Clark doll experiment would have seeped into Latin America’s public consciousness by now. Apparently not, since the Mexican anti-racist campaign doing their version of the doll experiment quickly went viral recently, as if they saw it for the first time.

Of course Mexican kids are no different from the ones in Clarks’ original setting. Why would they be? Some Mexicans hold views about black people that belong in the United States circa 1930. And if the makers of the video below — in an attempted parody trying to acquit Mexico as a country from the campaign’s accusations — think the kids prefer the white doll over the black doll not because the black doll represents a black person but because it is black (with its what they consider typical Mexican associations of superstition, black cats, black death, or “a psychology of colors”), they miss Clarks’ point completely: it is a segregated society that breeds distrust and internalized racism. Which makes Mexico a very ordinary society. The punch line: “I’m not black, I’m a mechanic.”

Further Reading

No more caricatures

Engaging seriously with Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s life could help us understand how South Africa got where it is and where it’s going.