Monday on AC360: Kids on Race: The Hidden Picture
March 30th, 2012
09:10 PM ET

Monday on AC360: 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 (4 Responses)
  1. Erin

    I have never felt so obliged to sign online and leave a comment - I completely agree with Mike_minneapolis' comment : the study is inherently flawed...there where no control pictures shown to these children! There should have been a slide of 2 white children and then 2 black children shown in the study. Perhaps the 70% negative reaction the white children showed towards the slide has nothing to do with race but to an overall tendency for white children to see situations negatively, and black children to have a more positive outlook - the fact the there were no controls presented in this study makes the year long time commitment it took to gather these results a total waste of time...sorry anderson...

    April 2, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
  2. ric netherlands

    kids on race isnt about the kids .
    its about parents who are not doing a good thing in upbringing.
    if you bring up youre kids in a normal way they dont see color.
    so try educate the parrents and the media and maybe then you reach the future generation.
    who can bring there kids up with no race standards

    April 2, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
  3. Mike_minneapolis

    The children's study has a serious flaw. The same flaw that many clinical trials have, failure to substantiate the fundamental tool, or control cohort. In this case supposedly neutral photos were shown; but there is no part of the study that shows them neutral. For example the students in the hallway. Push vs help. Look at the body posture and body language of the standing up character. See the hunch, the foot position. This is an aggressive posture. This would lead you to suspect a push,,,IF you had learned to recognize that posture. 6 yo maybe not by 13 yo would. This could bias the whole study..... There needs to be a white/white version and and a black/black version. These combined with other slightly different pictures to show what the expectation values are for picture interpretation. Then you compare to that standard or control– to assume the picture is unbiased and that the ratio difference from 6yo to 13 yo is race based is not supported in this study. I have executed many medical studies published in peer reviewed journals– this study would attract many negative peer comments.

    April 2, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
  4. E. Parry

    There is something about this Trayvon Martin Case That i dont understand. How is possible for a man holding skittles and Ice tea be hitting George Zimmerman head against the ground with that in his hand

    March 31, 2012 at 11:05 pm |