Anderson Cooper did a study analyzing children’s attitude toward race and found that Black children were more optimistic about race than their White counterparts. Researchers drew the conclusion after observing first-graders’ reactions to photos depicting children on a playground. Along with the photos, the children were asked the following questions: “What’s happening in this picture?”, “Are these two children friends?” and “Would their parents like it if they were friends?” The real question at hand here is at what age does race really start to matter and have an affect on our lives?
The study showed that not only did Black children have a better outlook on race relations, but that they were also more educated on the topic than White children. This is due to the fact that Black parents tend to start discussing race earlier with their children in order to prepare them for the possible discriminations that they may face. White parents don’t particularly feel the need to have this conversation because often believe their children are socially colorblind and race is not an issue necessary to address, according to child psychologist and University of Maryland professor Dr. Melanie Killen.
It is profound that the children who were told about the racism they may experience growing up in this world were the ones who had a brighter outlook on how multiple races interact with each other over the children who were hardly spoken to about race at all. They simply formed their opinions from what they observed around them and in society.
Race is something that is only noticeable once it is made apparent to us. When you ask a child to describe someone they will usually talk about their hair, the clothing they are wearing or some other physical attribute. It is not until someone points out to them that the color of their skin makes them different that they become more aware of it.
It would be ideal to live in a world that was colorblind, but sadly this is not the case especially with African Americans. Our children have to be aware of it from a young age in order to understand why they may be treated or looked at a certain way. If having early discussions about race makes children more optimistic about the topic then may it should be happening in every household regardless of whether the family is Black or White.