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Weird Science.

Always seems to be some kinda controversy swirling around that Barbie. This time, it's not about her impossible figure and she's not running for office--it's a case about race. A third-grader at Mesa Elementary in Boulder, Colo., chose to test racial perceptions using two Barbies--One black, one white--for a science fair project. Brilliant! Did she take the blue ribbon? Nope. School administrators removed her project "Does Skin Color Make a Difference?" from the fair. They worried it might upset minority students and that it compromised the school board's politically correct guidelines. For her study, the 8-year-old showed the black Barbie wearing a fancy purple dress and the white Barbie in casual clothes to 15 adults and asked, "Which is prettier?" Then she switched their clothes and asked 15 other adults the same question. Most adults picked whichever Barbie was dressed in the frilly party duds. She asked the same question to two groups of 15 classmates. Though she didn't record the participants' race, most of her peers picked the white Barbie--no matter which outfit she donned. Barry Satlow, chair of the ACLU's Boulder chapter, is concerned school officials' efforts to skate around a hot topic violates this student's First Amendment rights (that's the one about free speech). Satlow hopes the board will rewrite its guidelines, which say students can't "display visual or written material with the purpose or...effec of demeaning the race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age disability, or religion of any individual or group." Too bad the project didn't open the door for a great classroom discussion. Maybe next time.
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Title Annotation:girl's science project about skin color is removed
Publication:Girls' Life
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2001
Words:264
Previous Article:Letters.
Next Article:For the bards.
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