CNN, Media Images and Racial Bias

Yesterday, I caught this intriguing segment on CNN about whether African-American and Caucasian children show a preference towards white skin. The segment was a near re-enactment of the famous doll studies done in the 1960s, which asked black and white children to choose what doll – the one with black skin or light skin – they liked best. This time, instead of dolls, the researchers used cartoons of children with varying skin tones. The results are pretty shocking. I do commend CNN for tackling such a difficult subject as racism. However, there’s a caveat.

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Media images play a big role in the attitudes adults and children have toward different ethnic and racial groups. Unfortunately, negative depictions of black people on television news – usually committing crimes -has been a contributing factor in the way the larger society views African-Americans. So it was troubling to me to see CNN broadcast the news story below immediately BEFORE the segment on kids and racial bias.

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