Doll Project Causes a Stir

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints
  • CommentsComments

Weeks after banning a 3rd grader's science fair exhibit, a Boulder, Colo., school will now use the experiment with black and white Barbie dolls to discuss racial issues.

The experiment, which found that the school's 5th graders were much more likely to prefer a white Barbie doll than were adults, will be used to talk about "issues of race and diversity" among the school's 4th and 5th graders, said Janelle Albertson, a spokeswoman for the 26,900-student district.

Mesa Elementary School officials shelved the exhibit Feb. 1, saying that minority students could be offended by its conclusions.

David Thielen, whose daughter conducted the experiment, has called on school officials to apologize for barring it from the science fair, according to press accounts. Ms. Albertson said district officials had not apologized.

In the experiment, a black and a white Barbie doll wore different-colored dresses. Adults at Mr. Thielen's workplace preferred the doll with a lavender dress over one in a light-green gown, regardless of the doll's skin color. But 24 of 30 5th graders preferred the white doll, regardless of which color dress she wore.


Vol. 20, Issue 24, Page 4

Published in Print: February 28, 2001, as Doll Project Causes a Stir
Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories