In an op-ed for NewsOne, Dr. Boyce Watkins analyzes a CNN study about children’s racial attitudes and urges a deeper look. According to the study, while most black 6-year-olds had positive attitudes toward other races — more positive than white children of the same age — by age 13, most had developed a subconscious bias against white children:
This “study” by CNN is very interesting, especially if the results are used to somehow imply that Black children are taught to be leery of Whites for no good reason. The sad reality is that many Black parents must sometimes prepare their children for the sting of racism that will occur later in life, ultimately undermining their self-esteem at a very early age.
I’ve only tried to date one White girl my entire life. I was 15-years old and the girl was on my track team. I thought her dad liked me and I know that she liked me. After a long, budding three week romance (which is decades in high school measurements), she suddenly stopped speaking to me — no returning my phone calls, no notes in the hall, nothing.
It was later that I found out that the girl couldn’t speak to me anymore because her father didn’t want his daughter to date a Black boy. Here I thought this man liked me, and that we were all the same, yet he was making it clear that in his eyes, I was nothing more than a dirty n*gger. The incident traumatized me so much that I never tried to date a White girl ever again. I couldn’t understand how someone could hate me without knowing me, just because of who I am.
Incidents like the one described above build up the collective defense mechanism that many African-Americans feel compelled to teach their children: Reject them before they get a chance to reject you. It doesn’t mean that you hate White folks, but it does mean that you fully understand that a) many White men would not want you dating their daughters, b) you can’t go out and get drunk with your White co-wokers, c) the police are usually not your friend, and d) you should not be surprised if you are passed over for promotions that are given to the White guy down the hall. As much as I’d love to reject these cynical perspectives, the truth is that I can point to many experiences I’ve had as an employee at Syracuse University that have served to confirm these theories.
Read the op-ed in its entirety at NewsOne.com.