Archive for the ‘CNN Special’ Category

The Biased Presentation of a Racial Bias Special Part 3

From the CNN AC360 Special “Black or White: Kids on Race” – hosted by Anderson Cooper

During one segment Anderson asked a brown-skinned boy and brown-skinned girl what complexion they preferred.  The boy pointed to the whitest child in the picture.  When asked why, he said he didn’t know.  The girl selected the shade closest to white.  When asked why, she touched her face and hand and said, “I just don’t like the way brown looks cause the way brown looks looks really nasty for some reason but I don’t know what reason.”  Time was alloted for this heartbreaking duo who wished to have white skin.

Here’s how much time was alloted to the 9 and 10-year-old Black children whose responses reflected a negative white bias or a positive Black bias.

Black boy with cornrows.

  • Which child is ugly?  (He selects the whitest boy.) Why is he ugly?
  • BLACK BOY: Cause he looks like he’s white. No follow-up question. He’s never seen again.

Light-skinned Black girl.

  • Which child is dumb? (She points to the whitest girl.) No follow-up question. We never hear her voice.  She’s never seen again.

Dark-skinned Black girl. 

  • Which child is bad? (She selects the second lightest girl.) Why is she bad?
  • BLACK GIRL: Because she makes fun of everybody else’s skin color.  No follow-up question. We don’t see her again.

Brown-skinned Black girl. 

  • Which child is smart?  (She picks the darkest girl.) No follow-up question. We never hear her voice and we see her briefly in passing.

The fact that this brown-skinned child chose the darkest girl as the smart girl surely should have warranted follow-up questions.  Her racial self-esteem appears to be healthy despite all of the negative Black images she’s inundated  with.  She was passed over so that the TV Special could focus on children who had a negative Black bias and a positive white bias.

This Special didn’t devote any airtime to Black children who gave positive responses about Black skin and negative responses about white skin.  Black viewers are orally and visually clobbered with negative Black bias.   In contrast, white viewers are largely spared from hearing Black children make negative racial remarks about white people.  White viewers in general are mostly shielded from hearing Blacks make unflattering comments about white people.  Whites are not subjected to anti-white language or images that might cause them to have a visceral reaction. It’s part of the American way.

When the younger Black kids were asked, What child has the skin tone most children dislike, more than 61% chose the two darkest shades.  The 39% who disliked the lighter shades were never heard from.  When they were asked to point out the ugly child Black children chose the two darkest shades more than 57%.  The 43% who viewed the lighter skin and white skin as “ugly” were also never heard from. This TV Special killed their mics.

Three white children in the older group who gave “race neutral responses” were all shown on screen at the same time, a three-way split screen.   There was no audio for their three second appearance and we never saw them again.  Since their comments weren’t biased against Blacks, they were put on mute.   A fourth “race neutral” white girl was asked to point to the “good-looking” child and she selects all of them. The interviewer asked her what she was thinking.  The child said she didn’t care if the kids where “Black, white or mixed” what matters is who they are.  That’s the closest Black viewers came to hearing a white child say something positive about Blacks.

A Black psychologist headed this project and one of her findings showed that a negative bias towards Blacks is still very much a part of our culture.  That’s evident in the manner this Special is presented even though that’s probably not the intent.  I don’t know if the psychologist was involved in editing this Special, I suspect CNN took charge of that, but whoever had the final say determined what viewers endured or didn’t endure.  The manner in which this Special is presented perpetuates racial bias and white superiority.  That might stem more from rote then ill intent, but the end result is still the same from the viewer standpoint.


The Biased Presentation of a Racial Bias Special Part 2

This is a 3 part series.  

In my December 30th post titled “N-Word & Racial Double Standard in Films” I wrote: “The movie industry employs a gross double standard when it comes to race.  It allows white characters to freely assault Black characters with racist bile, but largely gags Blacks from saying anything racially demeaning to or about whites. That’s because the industry honors the feelings and humanity of white viewers and therefore spares them from being a racial target.”  That type of white audience racial protection not only applies within the movie industry, it also applies to TV and pop culture as a whole.

Case in point, a few years ago CNN aired the special “Black or White: Kids on Race.” Black and white children (ages 4 – 5 and 9 -10) were shown 5 illustrations of the same cartoon character in five shades ranging from white to dark brown. The boys were shown a boy character and the girls a girl character.  The kids were asked to point to the boy/girl who was “nice,” “pretty” “ugly” “bad,” and so on.  Both Black and white children overwhelmingly associated white skin with positive traits and dark skin with negative traits, but a few of the Black children viewed whites as “dumb” and “ugly.” When children appeared to have a negative Black bias interviewers asked them a series of follow-up question, but when Black children appeared to have a negative white bias they were skipped over.

Black viewers were subjected to a barrage of Black and white children expressing their negative Black bias while in contrast, white viewers were spared from hearing Black children who viewed white skin as negative.

I’ve provided a few sample interviews of negative Black bias within the 4 and 5-year-old group. Please note that I paraphrased the interview questions which were originally phrased: “Show me the bad child,” etc.

White boy wearing red and striped shirt.

  • Which child is dumb?  (He picks darkest boy.) Why is he dumb?
  • WHITE BOY: Cause he’s really black. 
  • Which child is nice? (He selects whitest boy.) Why is he nice?
  • WHITE BOY: Cause he’s the lightest.
  • Which child is mean? (He picks next to the darkest boy.) Why is he mean?
  • WHITE BOY:  Because he’s darker.
  • Which child is good? (He selects the boy in the middle.) Why is he good?
  • WHITE BOY: Because he’s light.
  • Which child is bad?  (He chooses darkest boy.) Why is he bad?
  • WHITE BOY: Because he’s really dark.
 White girl wearing white hair bows. 
  • Which child is smart?  (She picks next to lightest girl.) Why is she smart?
  • WHITE GIRL: Cause she looks like me
  • Which child is mean? (She picks next to darkest girl.) Why is she mean?
  • WHITE GIRL:  Cause she’s way darker
  • Which child is good? (She picks next to whitest girl.) Why is she good?
  • WHITE GIRL: Because I think she looks like me.
  • Which child is bad? (she picks darkest girl) Why is she the bad child?
  • WHITE GIRL: Because she’s a lot darker.
  • Who has the skin color most children like?  (She picks 2nd lightest girl.)
  • Who has the skin color most children don’t like? (She picks darkest girl.)
  • Who has the skin color most girls want? (She chooses 2nd lightest girl)
  • Who has the skin color most girls don’t want? (She selects the darkest girl)

Browned-skinned Black girl wearing red and white hair ornament.

  • Which is the smart child? (She points to the whitest girl.) Why is she smart?
  • BLACK GIRL: Cause she is white
  • Which is the dumb child? (She points to the darkest girl.) Why is she dumb?
  • BLACK GIRL: Cause she Black
  • Which is the ugly child? (She points to the darkest girl.)  Why is she ugly?
  • BLACK GIRL: Cause she black
  • Which is the good child? (She points to the whitest girl) Why is she good?
  • BLACK GIRL:   Cause she’s white

The Biased Presentation of a Racial Bias Special Part 1

In the 1940s Black psychologists Kenneth Clark and his wife Mamie designed a “Doll Test” to study how segregation was impacting Black children.  Their findings revealed that when Black children were presented with a Black and a white doll they overwhelmingly chose the white doll as the one they wanted to play with.  When the kids were asked to select the “good” doll or the “pretty” doll, the majority chose the white dolls and held up the Black dolls as being “bad” or “ugly.”  This study was instrumental in the 1954 Supreme Court’s decision to desegregate schools, Brown vs Board of Education.

A few years ago CNN hired a team of Black and white psychologists to conduct a similar Doll Test on “Black and white” children almost 60 years later.   What I discovered was a racially biased presentation of racial bias. The Special was an AC360 program titled, “Black or White: Kids on Race.”  I didn’t have sufficient time today to do this subject justice but I will do so tomorrow.  Please come back.