Ken Is Back, And This Time He`s Black
March 24, 2011, 06:30 PM
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Not only do we have an Affirmative Action President, we now have an Affirmative Action Ken Doll.  Former Iowa State football player Kurtis Taylor has recently been chosen as the model for the new black Ken.

Yes, Taylor seems like a really nice guy, but why a nationwide search for a new Ken doll, unless Mattel felt pressured to make their iconic dolls more diverse?

The new Ken doll reminds one of psychologist Kenneth Clark`s famous "Doll Experiment" in which black children were asked to choose between white and black dolls.  The black children tended to prefer the white dolls, which somehow qualified as evidence that segregation harmed blacks` self-image. This "experiment" became the basis for the Warren Court`s decision in Brown v Board of Education, which among other things, appeared to give minorities federal protection against threats to their self-esteem.  Besides being a very destructive precedent, it remains the silliest moment in Supreme Court history.

Will a black Ken boost black self-esteem?  No more than electing a black president, which is to say, not much.  My guess is that this latest diversity stunt will have a hard time in the marketplace.  Kids know what Ken really looks like and will not easily be fooled.  Any parent of young children knows that almost every child watches at least one Toy Story dvd a week, and in Toy Story 3, a traditional Ken appears in the voice of Michael Keaton.  Will Ken suddenly become black in Toy Story 4?

In recent years, the media and entertainment industry have not so subtly been promoting interracial sex on television and in the movies. So it only makes sense that a black Ken finally gets a chance to date the blonde and buxom Barbie.

Question: How many black women, who loathe interracial dating more than anyone, are going to buy their daughters a black Ken to go along with a blonde Barbie?  Is this supposed to raise the self-esteem of young black girls by letting them know what they have to look forward to?