According to recent studies, children form their own ideas about race, despite our best efforts. When the kids in one study were asked how many white people were mean, they said "almost none." When asked about how many black folks were mean, they said "some" or "a lot."
How about that?
So, you mean all that feel-good TV doesn't neutralize attitudes about race and make kids "colorblind?" Maybe not. These studies are intersting, but flawed. I'm not convinced that we can accurately measure something like the racial tolerance of children because we can't control their environments: white kids from New Orleans are likely to feel different about black people than white kids from, say, Shaker Heights, Ohio, supposedly a bastion of diversity and model for integration. (DISCLOSURE: I grew up in Shaker.) Attitudes may be reflective of personal interactions, which may be impacted by the socio-economics of the region. Because poor people are mean, no matter what color they are. I ran across a lot of mean, toothless white folk in Lexington, Ky. Most of the black people I met were middle class? Happy as clams. Go figure.
The study was based in Austin, Texas, so I don't know if we can reliably glean anything from it. While some may see it as liberal and multicultural, I bet none of those people are Latino or black. White people very often feel as if just having black faces around is a sign of progress. People of color know better. I'm convinced that children get their attitudes about race from their parents, and there is nothing to be done about it. You can't engineer race tolerance into society. If Grandpa is dropping the N-bomb at every occasion, I doubt Elmo or Oscar the Grouch can convince young white kids that black people are just like everyone else.
Besides parents and family, do you think childrens' attitudes about race are informed any other way? Have you seen kids discriminate?
Single Father, Author, Screenwriter, Award-Winning Journalist, NPR Moderator, Lecturer and College Professor. Habitual Line-Stepper