The aim of the experiment was to replicate Clark & Clark’s
study to re-examine the racial preferences of children in an interracial
participants aged between four and eight years all attended primary schools
in Lincoln, Nebraska. 89 of the children were Black (60% of
the Black children attending school in Lincoln).
71 of the children were White. These children were randomly selected from
the classrooms containing black respondents.
As Hraba & Grant’s experiment was a replication of
Clark & Clark (1947), they followed the same procedures as far as possible.
The children were interviewed individually using a
set of four dolls: two Black and two White, but identical in all other
respects. The children were asked the same questions used by the Clarks.
They were as follows:
What it Measured
(1) Give me the doll that you want
to play with
(2) Give me the doll that is a
(3) Give me the doll that looks
(4) Give me the doll that is a
(5) Give me the doll that looks
like a white child
(6) Give me the doll that looks
like a coloured child
(7) Give me the doll that looks
like a Negro child
(8) Give me the doll that looks
Hraba & Grant also asked the children and their teachers to name the race
of the child’s best friends to assess the behavioural consequences of racial
preference and identification.
When measuring racial preference, Hraba and Grant found that Black
children and White children preferred the doll of their own ‘race’.
The earlier studies by the Clarks had found that Black
children had preferred White dolls.
When measuring racial awareness and self identification Hraba & Grant
obtained similar results to those of Clark & Clarks. The children made very
They also found that the race of the interviewer had no effect on the
choices of either the Black or the White children and that there was no
relationship between race of friends for both Black and White children on
their doll preference.
Hraba & Grant give a number of explanations for why their results in 1969
are very different from the doll choices in 1939.
Firstly it is likely that Black children in 1969 were more proud of their
race than they were in 1939.
Secondly it is possible that children in Lincoln, unlike those in the
cities, might have chosen Black dolls in 1939. Obviously this explanation
can not be examined further.
Thirdly, the growth
of organisations in the Black community might have enhanced Black pride.
During the periods 1967-1969 a black pride campaign, sponsored by
organisations which were black conscious was aimed at adolescents and young
adults in Lincoln. Black children through their interactions with kin and
friends may have modelled these attitudes.
inter-racial contact such as in nursery or school might create Black pride.