These are the two dolls I used to measure skin-color preferences in preschool children. As you can see, the difference in color is barely visible—both would be considered “white.”
This point bears repeating. It is debatable whether racial attitudes exist among toddlers if their social environment is almost 100% French Canadian. But the question is academic: neither doll looks like an ethnic Other.
A psychology professor kindly offered me a “better” explanation for the correlation between adiposity and darker-doll preference: the fatter children were making a gesture of solidarity with another disadvantaged group. Frankly, I doubt whether most grownups possess this kind of political sophistication. But, again, the question is academic.
Frost, P. (1994). Preference for darker faces in photographs at different phases of the menstrual cycle: Preliminary assessment of evidence for a hormonal relationship, Perceptual and Motor Skills, 79, 507-514.
Frost, P. (1989). Human skin color: the sexual differentiation of its social perception, Mankind Quarterly, 30, 3-16.