Graduate student extraordinaire from e725 drops out of the blue and into the Obscene Machine blog with a provocative entry on dolls:
Date: Fri, 20 Apr 2007 16:18:17 -0700
From: "Andrea Knab"
Subject Blog submissionTo: "Bill Nericcio"
Hi Professor Nericcio
I found this image online and thought it was interesting. Apparently, the lucky child to take this doll home can play with his/her black baby doll or white baby doll by just flipping the dress over. What I think is most interesting is that the white doll's face is obviously worn, her eye is missing and the paint on her face and hand is chipped. However, the black doll's face is pristine. The child who owned this doll seems to have favored playing with the white doll more than the black one.
According to the website where I found the picture, the dolls date back to the antebellum era and were thought to represent the symbiotic relationship between black and white children. I searched for more "upside down dolls" and found this description: A very charming vintage upside down doll. One side is a black mammie type character with a floral gown and great bead necklace. The other side is an equally lovely Carmen Miranda type character with a fruit hat, bright beads and pretty red dress. These dolls represent extremely generalized representations of black and Latin women. The children who play with these dolls undoubtedly imagined them to be the mammie, Latin diva, or some other type of stereotypical role.
Sadly, I'm sure kids today would play with these dolls in the much the same way.