Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What Do You See? A Racial Rorschach Test

What Do You See? What do you think is happening in these pictures?
An interesting study trying to get to the root of racial understanding by children was commissioned by Anderson Cooper of CNN. It uses the pictures above and asks children "What is happening in these pictures?" It is supposed to be an update of the now-classic doll research from the 1940s which investigated how African-American kids viewed race (and revealed that they had incorporated negative self-image about dark skin from a very early age).

According to CNN:
The updated study aims to answer such questions as these: “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?”
The full story entitled "race relations through a child's eyes" can be viewed online.

One of the points of doing this research is to point out the reality that people of different races can view images and events very differently, as the ongoing controversy about the killing of Trayvon Martin has revealed to some.

There's a 2011 report (Post-Racial? Race and Americans in the Age of Obama) by the Greenlining Institute which summarizes:
 “People of color tend to see the state of relations between whites and blacks as being far worse than whites see it. While more than twice as many whites believe there is “a little” racial discrimination in America as believe there is “a lot,” Hispanics divide roughly evenly between the two choices, while blacks overwhelmingly see “a lot” of discrimination – by a nearly four to one margin,” the summary read.
According to this report, only 16 percent of whites believed that there was “a lot” of discrimination in America, compared with 56 percent of blacks and 26 percent of Latinos. As to whether there was “some” discrimination, 44 percent of whites, 56 percent of blacks and 48 percent of Latinos agreed. When it came to whether there was “a little” discrimination, 39 percent of whites, 8 percent of blacks and 21 percent of Latinos concurred.
What do you think about race relations in America? Give feedback in the comments!

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