August 12th, 2010
10:18 AM ET
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Jennifer C Rose

    I believe the Rev. Carey has the right of the matter. Experts know that the manner in which a question is presented affects the answer. Children are very impressionable, especially by authority figures. The children who participated in this survey are forever changed by it, and perhaps not in a good way. Their parents will have to be on the lookout for ways in which their children's self image has been skewed by the study.

    When my son was two he noticed that his pediatrician's skin was very dark and said so during his check up. I put my arm next to my son's arm, and my Celtic pallor next to his peanut-colored skin looked very different. I told him that he and I were different colors and his Daddy (who is part Native American) was a different color from either of us. I told him that everybody is a different color. That's all he was curious about – nothing racial was ever mentioned and his curiosity was satisfied. Sometimes people assume that children are more affected by race than they really are. It is the adults who teach racism by their questions, actions and reactions. Kids just learn as they go along, and I'm concerned about what these children learned from this survey.

    August 12, 2010 at 2:42 pm |
  2. John Oliver

    Concerning the Kids on race segment. I believe the tests the children are receiving are fatally flawed. Here's why. when you ask a kid "which is the bad child?" in the lineup of the different colored cartoon characters, the child feels like he/she is expected to answer, so they guess and they probably guess the darker colored kid because of maybe their association with daytime being fun and night time potentially being scary not because of a childs skin color. And when the questioner continues on without asking the child why, the kid assumes he/she was right. The flaw in the tests are that they need to tell the kids taking the test that it is perfectly alright to say I don't know. I think the tests are actually creating a bias where there was none. Doesn't anyone else see how obvious this is. Thanks for reading my post! -John Oliver

    August 12, 2010 at 2:31 pm |
  3. L Roy

    In the original report by Anderson

    The flaw in the study was how the color gradation /progression of the profiles were arranged. They were arranged from lightest to darkest. This was a built in bias. To obtain a more accurate result, they should not have been arranged horizontally, but randomly. This is not to say that some or a similar result would have been obtained, however, the way that the profiles were arranged is/was a great flaw.

    Then as Anderson was reporting the story, he used African American along with white, avoiding the use of black as a parallel suggesting that the use of black was/is a negative. The avoidance of the use of black, brown, etc, by using some hyphenated designations that are misnomers, does nothing but further stereotype color.

    In the Clarks study the bias was in the fact that black children never saw brown dolls in the stores, so they choose what they were accustom to seeing and what their parent had bought them..a white doll. Different a better studies, at least that filtered out as much as possible other variables within the test site, that might influence the child is needed.

    August 12, 2010 at 12:32 pm |
  4. shirley

    Good job Anderson. You can't change the world but this sounds good.

    August 12, 2010 at 12:02 pm |
  5. Priscilla

    I can tell you my 2 year old son already know the difference between colors. We live in a small town in Iowa and there are few African Americans, Hispanics, and other races, but in his daycare class there are no "colored" children. So when he sees a color besides white he freaks out and cries. I felt like I wasn't doing everything good as a parent but now I'm adding teaching my son about race into my everyday parenting. It's something all parents should do.

    August 12, 2010 at 11:27 am |
  6. Rev. Vickie Carey, D.D., Ph.D.

    Sadly these tests focus the issue on race instead of color. Young children don't associate color with people. They acknowledge differences in appearance, but in trying to interpret what children are expressing, adults put their own perceptions of racism on the outcome of these tests.

    Children are exposed to concepts of color and their meaning at an early age. Beginning with children's books and bedtime reading time. Scary stories, or moral tales designed to teach right and wrong overwhelmingly use color to visually express those lessons. Scary or bad tales are often foretold at night or in the dark, forever associating black or darkness with negative images. Consequently positive images are depicted in the light or with light colors.

    When these tests use images of children instead of square blocks for instance, children begin to associate the colors with individuals instead of just color in general. Consequently these tests can begin to create an association of racism through their images and their questions. Instead of asking which "child" is bad, a tester can show a child a group of cirlces and ask which circle is bad. That doesn't mean the child associates African Americans as being bad people. But rather the color itself as being bad.

    Through out history societies have placed meanings on colors. We still do it today. Anyone who sees a yellow ribbon associates that color with military service. Pink is now associated with breast cancer. No one can deny that going to a part decorated with black ribbons and bows announces the theme of a scary celebration.

    Parents merely need to talk to their children about color and how it does not translate to all things in the same way. I do this with my 7 year old son. We talk about the positive things of colors, such as black and darkness. Something as simple as point out the beauty of night can go a long way. Without darkness we wouldn't be able to see the beauty of a night time starlit sky. A full moon is much more lovely at night than when we see it in daylight. Without the darkness we'd miss seeing some amazing animals such as raccoons, opossums, bats, and a variety of moths.

    Sometimes adults can make a mountain out of a mole hill purely based on their own bias or fears. Children are much more innocent and truly do not look at the world in the same way we do. It just takes a little effort to say there's no difference between people who are from different races to reinforce tolerance instead of propagating stereotypes.

    August 12, 2010 at 10:56 am |