March 27th, 2012
02:00 PM ET

Anderson Cooper explains Kids on Race: The Hidden Picture

In this behind-the-scenes preview, Anderson Cooper describes "Kids on Race: The Hidden Picture," the groundbreaking year-long investigative study that will air the week of April 2 at 8 and 10 p.m. ET. Race relations is one of the most explosive issues in America and for many, it’s one of the most taboo to talk about, especially with children. For this special report, AC360° contracted a renowned child psychologist to help us understand how race influences a child’s world.

The CNN commissioned pilot study builds on the original Doll Test’s historic research done in the 1940s that examined how African -American children interpret race, discrimination and stigma. Teaming up with child psychologist Dr. Melanie Killen, the report scientifically explored how kids view interracial contact in their daily lives. The children, ages six and thirteen, were shown images that were designed to be ambiguous to children. “What is happening in this picture” was the starting point for interviews conducted with the group of 145 African-American and Caucasian children in six schools across three states. The report explored how children’s interpretations of the images changed when the races of the characters were switched.

This series will tackle controversial issues and answer some difficult questions. Is race a factor in how children view conflicts and choose friends? Do children see race or are they, as many parents believe, socially colorblind? How, when and why do they form their opinions on race? Can those opinions change over time or at a certain age, are kids “hard-wired” about race? And does the racial make-up of their school and environment affect their opinions on race? Anderson along with CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien will share with the viewers the children’s answers and the conclusions our researcher drew from their responses.

Tweet your thoughts about the upcoming @AC360 series using hashtag #KidsOnRace. Find out more about the project from the CNN Press Room and be sure to watch starting Monday, April 2 at 8 and 10 p.m. ET on CNN.

Filed under: AC361° • Kids on Race • Race in America
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Myto Senseworth

    The only real differance between anybody is cultural differences. There is no such thing as race in my book. I tell people I come from a BI-CULTURAL family.

    I like the way Anderson works. I will watch this show.

    March 28, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
  2. M.J.B

    I am extremely interested in seeing this study. Anderson, I will see you Monday, April 2nd @ 10pm.

    March 28, 2012 at 11:40 am |
  3. Lian

    It appeared to me that in at least one instance the "questioner" was presenting the child with a menu of ways to interpret the pictures ("is this not ok, ok, or somewhere in the middle?") as opposed to asking the child what was happening in the picture. In that instance, the child responded, without conviction, with the first choice he was given (not ok). How a question is asked, especially to young children, makes all the difference in the world as to how it will be answered. Seems like a potentially interesting show; I just hope the clip isn't representative of how this was conducted.

    March 28, 2012 at 10:32 am |
  4. Craig

    I didn't learn anything from this video. Race is not an issue with me and my kids. I've taught my kids from day one that they need to be tolerant of all people. I didn't even mention color or religion. I want my kids to see past that. They will never hear a racial slur out of their father's mouth ever. They will never hear me speak for an entire race based on one incident. I don't live with my kid's so I can't control what their mother says in front of them, but I will stick to my words. I teach them not to bully or be bullied. They will learn as they go through life that my way is the right way and to ignore the ignorance of the past that some people still hold on to. I am white and my girlfriend is not and they are seeing first hand how you can love without color as an issue.

    March 28, 2012 at 10:29 am |
  5. Doug

    Should be interesting. From my own childhood I don't remember thinking about it until around 1st grade, where I noticed black kids tended to automatically dislike me. I later discovered (after becoming friends and just plain asking why they gave me such a hard time when we first met) it's because to them my demeanor is "super whitey" which is ironic, since the aspect of my personality that see as so very white comes from the native american side of my family... heh.

    March 28, 2012 at 5:58 am |
  6. sabine reynaud

    What about Asian and Hispanic kids. Are they not included in this study? Here in San Francisco you often have public schools with Asian, Hispanic or Black majority enrollment in public schools, white kids are a smaller group everywhere. Whites overwhelmingly enroll their kids in private school. Anyhow does a kid that looks like Obama encounter in a school with an Asian majority I wonder.

    March 28, 2012 at 4:54 am |
  7. P. Jean

    Anderson, isn't it possible everyone is looking at the Trayvon Martin case the wrong way. This is how I see it: Trayvon Martin a minor was walking to his father's fiancee's home. He was on his cell phone having a private conversation. Trayvon was approached by an unknown man/assailant that invaded his privacy. Trayvon felt threatened and by Florida Law began to Stand His Ground to protect himself from an unknown man that approached him. The unknown man "Zimmerman" disobeyed an order from an affiliated service/law agency (911) and decided to go ahead and invade Trayvon Martin's private space. As Trayvon continued to Stand His Ground he unfortunately lost his ground and his life. I think everyone is assuming Zimmerman was Standing His Ground because he is the one that lived. The facts seem to show that Trayvon was the one Standing His Ground. Just a thought!

    March 27, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • Greg

      Excellent point.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:46 am |
  8. Shirley

    Zimmerman said he changed his mind and decided not to follow Trayvon. How long did he take Zimmerman to change his mind and decides not to follow the 911 operator order as obviously he did not do it soon enough.

    March 27, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
  9. Shirley

    It looks like "The Florida Stand Your Ground Law applies only to people who striked with a firearm. It looks very clearly to me that Trayvon Martin who was ambushed was standing his ground but this was never evoked in this case.

    March 27, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
  10. angelique crusoe

    definitely looking forward to watching this and seeing the results. it can help give some context (or not) to the Trayvon Martin case. Very relevant, I just wish I didn't have to wait till April. jeesh.

    March 27, 2012 at 6:44 pm |