CNN’s Test Shows Kids Are Wary of Race

While it may not have the immediate newsworthiness of the BP oil leak, the Arizona illegal immigration bill or continue fallout from Wall Street, the issue of race has received excellent coverage from CNN over the past three years. It all started with “Black in America,” a program that had no singular focus, but rather took a survey of what it means to be black in America in 2008.

The latest CNN project aired last night on AC360. It was called “Black or White: Kids on race.” There was one poignant moment when a white 5-year-old girl took part in a pilot test that left her mother in tears:

This immediately called to mind a section from Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Blink, where elementary school students took an Implicit Association Test (IAT) that offered similarly disheartening results. Gladwell explained the test in 2007 on Oprah:

I’m no expert on matters regarding race. If I take a stance here, it’s to say the status quo isn’t working. I will say this is why I believe in diversity and I think it’s increasingly important for kids at younger ages to interact with kids who don’t look and act like themselves.

This is a touchy matter, I realize. I think I’d rather leave further discussion to the comment board:

  • Why do you think these negative associations originate at such a young age?
  • What kind of discussions should results from these findings?
  • What can be done for children to impact attitudes regarding race?

3 thoughts on “CNN’s Test Shows Kids Are Wary of Race

  1. This makes me worried because I have a 6-year-old daughter but the only thing I can associate this with is possible white-hate;black-hate syndrome from any visual image possible. Visually, the color white brings up positive adjectives and the color black brings up negative adjectives. I believe this could factor into that type of study where the only thing different with the pictures are colors.

    I believe you would get the same result if instead of skin color, the clothing was either a shade of blue or pink and you asked the child which picture is the boy and which the girl.

    I would wager 99% of 5-year-olds (and mine responded the same way) would say the blue-cloth kid is a boy and pink-cloth kid is a girl. Why? Because of the blue-pink syndrom of Western society with clothes, shoes, toys, etc.

  2. Wow! I would hope our world has reached a different place regarding prejudice. Being an educator, I try very hard to teach respect-respect in all aspects…as far the negative associations that seem to originate at such a young age? Are those negative associations due to the visual image association and colors as Mike mentioned? My Dad loved to watch Westerns, and in the old Westerns he always pointed out to me”notice how the good guys always wear white and the bad guys always wear black”. Our son, Joe, drives a black car-I call it his “bad- ass-black” car. I don’t think I have a prejudice bone in my body yet…I would love to take that IAT test…very thought provoking blog Andrew…

  3. This has nothing to do with race. This is a CNN sensational way to stir up crap and get rating at the same time showing a liberal slant that once again white people are evil now and everone else is the victim and they are not tolerant and all tea baggers… on.

    In society from the beginning of time even back in the time of civilization existing only in the middle east and all skin color was brown to dark brown:
    Dark= night, time to rest inside, no light, caverns of torture and death…
    White / bright= day, sun , warmth, light, outside work and play….

    Get over it~!

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