The Doll Test

The Attorney General of Kentucky has us engaged in a serious reflection this morning about images and our self-esteem and the long-term impact and ramifications of self-esteem on decisions that we make as adults.

I like to observe powerful people in the presence of other powerful people. I have attended very serious meetings in the White House with various caucuses within the Congress of the United States. When we get to the meeting sometimes the subject matter changes. Instead of discussing what we had pre-determined we were going to discuss so as not to waste the time of the President it becomes a photograph session or an autograph session, by the time that session is over there is no time to discuss the pre-determined substantive issues for which the meeting was granted in the first place.

Some president’s actually recognize this dynamic and rather than actually conducting the meeting they simply satisfy members of Congress for their election year photos and in some cases that is all that is required to get a members vote on the floor of the Congress.

One day I was sitting on the floor of the Congress and Congressman Elijah Cummings who was the 93rd African-American elected to Congress, I was the 92nd, sat next to me and he said young man what is on your mind. He could intuitively see that I was in a struggle. I have never been a legislator before. He said there are three phases that every legislator has to go through that is black. The first phase is I am happy to be here. The second phase is learning the rules and learning how to finesse the institution. The third is actualization. Passing legislation and creating law. He said the problem with most minorities and African-American legislators is this, because we’ve never been here they never get past the first phase. I went to work with purpose that day. I have been exposed to too much over the course of my life, my fathers work had exposed me to President’s, and King’s, Popes and Potentates, and being around powerful people black or white no longer phased me whether they were democratic or republican.

Even to this day I go to some meetings and I can always spot the African-American staffer who is bowing and scraping. Often times they give you some heads up on their boss. Often times I tell them there is no need to I come to the meeting with clarity and purpose.

After nearly 2 and a half centuries of slavery followed by Jim Crowe, strengthening the spine of a people whose backs have been bent under the weight of the institution of slavery was the important function of changing the way in which education was presented to them, hence the Drs. Kenneth Clarke and Dr. Mamy Clarke studies and “the doll test.”

The doll test reflected in the images below speak volumes about parenting even at this hour. Our children must see us standing straight up against the injustice that is dominating our country, our world, and our immediate space. It will affect who are children are, and will become, when they become the attorney general of some company or some state or some country in the future.

Carter G Woodson once said, “In the miseducation of the Negro,” if the Negro gets use to coming in the back door, segregation, even though he is allowed, now by law, to enter the front, he will cut a hole in the back of a building just to get in because of habit.

Author: Jesse Jackson Jr

Jesse Jackson Jr was born into advocacy and the struggle for human rights. He entered the world at the height of the American civil rights movement. As such, his father stood among the thousands on the Edmund Pettus Bridge just two days before his birth. The feverish demand for equal voting rights for African Americans, no doubt, infected Jesse with the fight for justice and the right to the pursuit of happiness right down to his bones. He accepts the charge. With this legacy of civil rights, Jesse has always known the importance of using his talents for the advancement of the common good and in the fight for marginalized groups. He carried that foregone conclusion to the platform provided him at North Carolina A&T University. As early as his freshman year, Jackson began working for the people, on campus and abroad. While earning his Bachelor’s of Science degree in business management, he represented the student body as President and he founded a student activism organization centered on overcoming apartheid in South Africa. Jesse Jackson, Jr. is at the seat of his soul when he is working on the front lines of activism. He was an active member of the demonstrations against the blatant civil rights violations of South Africans. Similarly, he has threaded into the fabric at home as Field Director of the National Rainbow Coalition, where he worked to promote voter registration and education programs. Not long after earning his Master’s in theology and his Juris Doctor, Jesse began representing the interest of the citizens of Illinois as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. In his 17 years in Congress, from 1995 to 2012, Jesse Jackson Jr had a say in every vote. Additionally, he has served on myriad committees, including the House Appropriations Committee. Taking his aptitude for civic service a step further, Jackson also lent his talent during the 2008 presidential election—working diligently to assist fellow Illinois-native Barack Obama win the presidency. Jesse is an advocate for equal education rights, equal employment opportunities, improving the circumstances of impoverished Americans, conserving various American landmarks as historical districts and reinvigoration the US economy following the 2007-2008 housing and auto market crash. Today, as a citizen thriving with bipolar disorder, Jesse continues the fight on behalf of marginalized communities through his work to help America eliminate the stigma of living with a mental health challenge. Jesse Jackson Jr’s tireless subscription to knowledge of the mind, freedom of the heart and the voice of the vote informs his current effort to impact. His rich possession of theological, historical, political and geopolitical knowledge creates an elemental toolbox that makes him a galvanizing catalyst for change.

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