CNN conducted a modern-day doll study on children’s racial beliefs, attitudes and preferences. Researchers found black and white children are biased toward lighter skin. The test was designed to re-create the landmark Doll Test conducted in 1947. Check it out.
Now here is my question. What are we as parents supposed to do with this information? I had mixed feelings watching this and other clips from these interviews. This is nothing new, there are no new findings, its been the same test for years. Why not add more races to the mix? Ask different kind of questions? As a mom I kind of know how kids often say things that are not really about race even though it sounds like they are. Everything needs to be questioned when interviews like this are done. How were the interviews done? Were they really biased? Even the way the test is introduced to the kids, the language used, the appearance of the person conducting the interviews…theres too much to take into consideration when it comes to kids!
It almost seemed like they were kind of forcing kids to take a black vs. light skin approach when a lot of kids honestly don’t even think that way. If a child has never been told to think about race as a determining factor, it would be very confusing for them to suddenly have to choose which picture is the nice girl, which the teacher likes better, etc..
Adults forget that it is very hard for little ones to “challenge” what they are being told. So if someone is telling you to pick between skin colors, most little ones will because they are used to trusting adults, following directions, etc.. That doesn’t seem like a very fair test, if you have to basically avoid the directions to get the right answer. Are there certain kids who go to elementary school with ideas about skin color? Definitely. And there are certainly kids who have been influenced by their parents, the media, their friends, etc. to view people negatively because of their skin color. But to use this type of test as a gauge of how a nation really feels just doesn’t sit well with me.