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College Students Distribute Over 300 Black Baby Dolls At Christmas To Help Boost Girls’ Self-Esteem

“I hope that the girls who we are giving these dolls to will take away that their power is limitless,” one student said.

For the past 25 years, it’s been tradition for students at Mary Baldwin University in Staunton, Virginia, to host an Annual Black Baby Doll Drive for girls in the community.

As a result, an estimated 300 young, Black girls unwrapped a Black baby doll for Christmas, according to ABC News. The goal is to help boost confidence and self-esteem in an effort to combat negative stereotypes.

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Freshman Caitlyn Russell, 19, said, “I hope that the girls who we are giving these dolls to will take away that their power is limitless. I want them to be able to see that they have the power to do whatever they want.”

Chief Diversity Officer Rev. Andrea Cornett-Scott added, “we know that there is a clear tie between the achievement gap and self-esteem, especially for Black girls. And oftentimes African-American girls have problems with self-image because they don’t see a lot of images of themselves in theme media, and often they struggle with whether or not they’re beautiful.”

The private university has a student body of around 1,500. Each year, the students, mostly freshmen, are taught about “the doll tests.” The tests are various experiments conducted by psychologists in the 1940s to “test children’s perceptions around race,” the report further notes. The experiments show the majority of children gave positive characteristics to the white doll and chose it over the Black doll.

“The doll tests” were cited in the 1954 Supreme Court case of Brown vs. Board of Education, thus leading to the desegregation of schools in the U.S.

Due to the scarcity of Black baby dolls in the area, the students took up the challenge to see who could discover the most.

“It really, truly broke my heart because I was like there are girls in the town and they’re Black and they’re seeing dolls that don’t represent them,” freshman Mylanah Twyman.

A 20-year-old sophomore, Teaira Jordan, mentioned how “when you look at dolls and you’re giving these young girls dolls and you’re telling them, ‘Your Black is beautiful, your features are beautiful,’ you have to make sure that you yourself believe those things.”

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