Regardless of your race — if you haven’t started talking to your children about skin color, you might want to start now. Last night’s CNN special “Black or White: Kids on Race,” revealed that a racial bias exists even among young kids today. Pop the hood for video and details on the study
Last night’s special showed American kids may still have a long way to go when it comes to their beliefs about race.
Just watch the footage below of a 5-year-old white girl who is part of a CNN pilot study on children’s attitudes toward race.Vodpod videos no longer available.
The girl consistently identifies a white or lighter skinned child as “smarter and good” because she “looks like me,” while pointing at the black or darker skinned child when asked which is ugly, because “she’s a lot darker”. Her mother, who watches the study in near tears, says she has no idea where her child has picked up the beliefs, adding her daughter has never asked about color.
CNN hired child psychologist and University of Chicago professor Margaret Beale Spencer, a leading researcher in the field of child development to design the pilot study. She used a team of three psychologists to implement it: two testers to execute the study and a statistician to help analyze the results. Her team tested 133 children from schools that met very specific economic and demographic requirements. In total, eight schools participated: four in the greater New York City area and four in Georgia.
One of the major findings of the study was that white children have an overwhelming bias toward white, and that black children also have a bias toward white but not nearly as strong as the bias shown by the white children.
The difference in the kids seems to point to how much parents have discussed race with them.
Research and discussions with parents of the children who participated in this study, indicate that white parents as a whole do not talk to their kids about race as much as black parents.
A 2007 study in the Journal of Marriage and Family found that 75 percent of white families with kindergartners never, or almost never, talk about race. For black parents the number is reversed with 75 percent addressing race with their children.
Po Bronson, author of NurtureShock and an award-winning writer on parenting issues says white parents “want to give their kids this sort of post-racial future when they’re very young and they’re under the wrong conclusion that their kids are colorblind. … It’s in the absence of messages of tolerance that they will naturally … develop these skin preferences.”
Many African-American parents CNN spoke to during the study say they begin discussing race at a very early age because they say they feel they have to prepare their children for a society where their skin color will create obstacles for them.
Check out what this young black girl has to say when she is questioned for the study:
Vodpod videos no longer available.
It’s a relief to hear her answer that she is happy with her skin color and that it shouldn’t matter what you look like on the outside — that it’s the inside that counts.
To see some answers from more kids involved with the CNN pilot study, Click Here To Watch Another Video
At what age do you think it’s appropriate to start talking to kids about race? If you have kids, have you discussed skin color with them? Do the results of this study surprise you? What do you think is to blame for this white bias?