Tonight: AC360 Study: African-American children more optimistic on race than whites
April 2nd, 2012
12:04 PM ET

Tonight: AC360 Study: African-American children more optimistic on race than whites

Editor's note: Tune in to AC360° this week for the surprising results of a groundbreaking new study on children and race. Watch "Kids on Race: The Hidden Picture" at 8 and 10 p.m. ET on CNN.

A white child and a black child look at the exact same picture of two students on the playground but what they see is often very different and what they say speaks volumes about the racial divide in America.

The pictures, designed to be ambiguous, are at the heart of a groundbreaking new study on children and race commissioned by CNN's Anderson Cooper 360°. White and black kids were asked: "What's happening in this picture?", "Are these two children friends?" and "Would their parents like it if they were friends?" The study found a chasm between the races as young as age 6.

Overall, black first-graders had far more positive interpretations of the images than white first-graders. The majority of black 6-year-olds were much more likely to say things like, "Chris is helping Alex up off the ground" versus "Chris pushed Alex off the swing."

They were also far more likely to think the children pictured are friends and to believe their parents would like them to be friends. In fact, only 38% of black children had a negative interpretation of the pictures, whereas almost double - a full 70% of white kids - felt something negative was happening.


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Filed under: Kids on Race • Race in America
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. JP

    Really. This is how you test children to find out if they a raist? Maybe they are looking at the expression on the standing child's face and not the color.

    April 4, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
  2. JJ

    Also although the pictures were meant to be ambiguous, I wonder if they really are. The kids standing behind the swing have their fists closed. In the case of the kid who is the observer in either the swing photo or the locker photo, they have neutral (at best) expressions. I actually think the swing kid looks mean. If you saw someone fall, don't you think you would have either a concerned or surprised look on your face? Also it wasn't clear to me from the article, were there any pictures shown to the kids where both kids were the same race?

    April 4, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
  3. Adele

    Anderson, thank you so much for the kids on race. I watched your research and it is challenging. Parents needs to wake up, especially so called 'white' parents. The kids spoke the minds of their parents. Remember, when the skin is cut deep, same blood flow out. Red, green, yellow, or what ever the colour. The programme is an eye opener, sad though in 2012.
    The sense of entitlement and superiority, based on colour is ridiculous. When we die, nobody is buried 7ft, because of their colour, everyone goes down 6ft.

    April 2, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
  4. Brandon Lloyd

    Anderson, or CNN
    i need some help. Anderson, Erin and the politicol crew at CNN are the only media not too left or too right to take seriously. i cannot tell you how much i appreciate your takes, but with this racism issue, especially aparent with the Martin case, why are you not calling out NBC for their edited police calls? I 100% agree that Zimerman should be arrested given that a human life was taken with incomplete evidence so that a court can take up the issue, but why allow NBC to inflame the situation without thier respected media piers calling them on it? Why, of all media people does Hannity have to be the one to pursue this?

    April 2, 2012 at 1:48 pm |