COE Faculty Leads Study on Children and Race Featured on
CNNís Anderson Cooper Show
How early do children begin to form opinions on race? How are these opinions shaped? Dr. Melanie Killen, professor in the Department of Human Development and Quantitative Methodology in the College of Education at the University of Maryland, and her research team conducted a year–long study to answer these questions.
Commissioned by CNN’s Anderson Cooper show “AC360,” the results of this study will be featured on a series entitled “AC360 Special Report: Kids on Race, the Hidden Picture” and will air the week of April 2nd at 8 and 10 PM. The CNN commissioned pilot study builds on the original Doll Test’s historic research done in the 1940s that examined how African –American children interpret race, discrimination and stigma.
Teaming up with child psychologist Dr. Killen, the Anderson Cooper 360į ground breaking report scientifically explored how kids view interracial contact in their daily lives. The children, ages six and thirteen, were shown images that were scientifically designed to be ambiguous to children. “What is happening in this picture” was the starting point for interviews conducted with the group of 145 African–American and Caucasian children in six schools across three states. The report explored how children’s interpretations of the images often changed when the races of the characters were switched.
This series will tackle controversial issues and answer some difficult questions. 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? Cooper along with CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien will share with the viewers the children’s answers and the conclusions our researcher drew from their responses.
Click here to read Anderson Cooper’s blog and video preview describing the upcoming special.
To learn more about the study and to watch clips from the series, please visit: http://newsdesk.umd.edu/uniini/release.cfm?ArticleID=2663/
Adapted from CNN press release dated March 27, 2012.