The Baby Beatriz Project will illuminate and confront the complex issues that deal with non-white children in Kansas City not having adequate access to products that represent their ethnic/racial group. I will focus mainly on the availability and selection of black baby dolls in local stores. A multiphase approach will be utilized.
After making some initial observations based on personal experiences and conducting some loose research I became aware that it is very difficult to find baby dolls of any other ethnicity then white Caucasian in most local toy selling venues. I found this very strange and disturbing because the selection of the dolls did not even represent the demographics of the area. “The Baby Beatriz Project” will focus mainly on the availability and selection of black baby dolls in local stores and what this means for local children. I am taking a multiphase approach that will include Research, Mapping of Information, A Visual Essay, Distribution of Informative Materials, Community Responds and Evaluation, Guerilla Instillation, and An All Encompassing Exhibition.
I have already embarked on the research phase. I will continue to research topics such as:
- History of Black Dolls in America
- Child Psychology and how identity is developed?
- How dolls have been used in testing racial biases through out US History.
- Why our culture has normalized white dolls and considers black dolls a deviation from the norm.
Mapping of Information
This will include the creation of motion graphics pieces and info graphic publications.
With the information that I synthesize from my research I will create motion graphics that visually display factual information in interesting ways. These motion graphics pieces will be displayed on a blog so that a range of people may have access to this information. These motion graphics will also be translated into info graphic posters and booklets that will be distributed around Kansas City so that the local population may have access to this information as well. This awareness campaign is a very important aspect to my project because being able to identify and acknowledge that a problem exists is the first step in making it better. This information distribution will draw attention to the racial issues at hand and the affects that these issues have on children in our community.
(Just a disclaimer The Date 1954 is actually the date of the Brown vs. Board of Education court case. The Clarks’ Doll Studies originated in the late 1930s and on throughout the 1940s the results from these studies were used as evidence in several school desegregation cases, including Briggs v. Elliott, which became part of Brown vs. The Board of Education Case which deemed segrigation to be unconstitutional)
The visual essay will explore the personal experiences of people in the Kansas City community. I will conduct interviews with a number of individuals that have had experiences with baby dolls (selling them, buying them, playing with them, or observing others play with them). We will delve into racial issues and deconstruct childhood experiences that have to do with Black baby dolls. I will share my own experiences and opinions about the issues at hand.
Distribution of Information/Community Response
As mentioned above a blog will be created to house the motion graphic pieces. I will continue to distribute information. I will add the visual essay to the blog. I will create surveys to distribute to the community. I will facilitate community events with children posing the question, “What should a doll look like?” this information will be added to the blog. Expectantly I will start to receive community feedback in responds to the information on the blog and the distributed publications.
Well “Guerilla” tactics will be used so you will find out soon!
All Encompassing Exhibition and Instillation.
I will continue to produce Baby Beatriz dolls to create an Instillation and Exhibition in a storefront or a traditional art space. A final instillation will include 3 video monitors one with the visual essay and two displaying the motion graphics pieces. Also several (the number will depend on the venue) packaged dolls will be displayed in rows to mimic a toy display.
I hope for The Baby Beatriz Doll project to help the community recognize the need for children’s access to Black Dolls and the effects of this access on the psychology of all children.