In my government class we watched a clip on the AC360 doll study from 2010. This study shows how children identify with race based on what they see and here from adults.
This study is based from the 1940 doll study constructed by psychologist Kenneth and Mamie Clark. The 2010 study included a picture with five children of different skin tones lined up from the lightest to the darkest. More than 130 children from 8 different schools were asked to show researchers their opinions on various questions.
Students in my class found it funny when the black children pointed to the white skin tone for being dumb or having the skin tone that most adult do not like. And it was humorous for the black boy to say the white child was ugly because he was white. But thought it was crazy for the white children to say that the black child was dumb, ugly, or mean because they had black or brown skin.
When asked to point out the dumb child, 76 percent of the younger white children pointed to the two darkest skin tones. There were 66 percent younger white children that pointed to the darkest skin tones when asked which child was the mean child. And that same percentage pointed to the darkest skin tones when asked which child had the skin color that most children didn’t like. Some white children did have non-bias answers, not caring the color of a person’s skin tone.
I don’t think this is the children’s fault, but it is a generational curse. Stories of a particular opposite race are passed down from one generation to the next. For instance, an older black woman has warned her children to be careful of white people based on her experiences with them. They pass along the advice to their children. And the cycle continues.
Even history books that can help teach us to treat people of a different race equal can backfire. In elementary school stories were read about blacks being treated badly and everybody should be treated the same. In those stories, blacks were called Negroes said to be bad by the white people.
Another black boy in my class was a little more outspoken and louder than me. And one day a white girl said that she thought he was a Negro but that I wasn’t one. That showed me that from her understanding Negroes were loud and wild, when in fact all blacks were called Negroes.
I knew a girl that said she can’t watch the movie Rosewood because it will make her hate white people. Not that history shouldn’t be taught. I think children should be taught to understand that discrimination was and should be a thing of the past.
The next special about children and race; will air tonight at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.