A CNN study has found that black children
develop a bias against white children at a very early age. The study
argues that by the age of 13, black children have opinions on race
relations that are negative toward whites.
Most six year olds, according to the study, had an optimistic view on race, but that perception changed as they got older.
Davionne, 6, told a researcher that “They’re not the same color and they can’t play together if they’re not the same color.”
The boy then claimed that he couldn’t play with white kids “cause your mom might not want you to play with that friend.”
The boy’s mother, Aisha, was concerned by her child’s perceptions.
“I’m a little bothered by it,” she said. “Just because I don’t want
him to feel I would think that or expect that…. Whoever is his friend is
his friend, so I’m not sure why he would feel that way. It just
concerns me that he thinks like that.”
The boy’s father denied that his son had a racial bias.
“I know for a fact that that’s not my son, as far as the answers he
was giving,” he said. “I think he answers the way he thinks people want
him to answer.”
This “study” by CNN is very interesting, especially if the results
are used to somehow imply that black children are taught to be leery of
whites for no good reason. The sad reality is that many black parents
must sometimes prepare their children for the sting of racism that will
occur later in life, ultimately undermining their self-esteem at a very
I’ve only tried to date one white girl my entire life. I was
15-years old and the girl was on my track team. I thought her dad liked
me and I know that she liked me. After a long, budding three week
romance (which is decades in high school measurements), she suddenly
stopped speaking to me: No returning my phone calls, no notes in the
It was later that I found out that the girl couldn’t speak to me
anymore because her father didn’t want his daughter to date a black
boy. Here I thought this man liked me, and that we were all the same,
yet he was making it clear that in his eyes, I was nothing more than a
dirty n*gger. The incident traumatized me so much that I never tried to
date a white girl ever again. I couldn’t understand how someone could
hate me without knowing me, just because of who I am.
Incidents like the one described above build up the collective
defense mechanism that many African Americans feel compelled to teach
their children: Reject them before they get a chance to reject you.
It doesn’t mean that you hate white folks, but it does mean that you
fully understand that a) many white men would not want you dating their
daughters, b) you can’t go out and get drunk with your white co-wokers,
c) the police are usually not your friend, and d) you should not be
surprised if you are passed over for promotions that are given to the
white guy down the hall. As much as I’d love to reject these cynical
perspectives, the truth is that I can point to many experiences I’ve had
as an employee at Syracuse University that have served to confirm these
In so many cases, African American children start off believing that
all of us are created equal and that every human being should be judged
on the content of their character. It is later where we find that, in
the minds of many white folks, being black instantly turns you into a
second class citizen. To simply allow your child to believe that the
world is fair and that you’ll always be treated kindly by whites is to
deny hundreds of years of undeniable evidence to the contrary. Your
child should be taught to love everyone with the full understanding that
everyone is not going to love them back.
Most of us would never teach a child not to play with another child
because he/she is white. Such ideas are absolute nonsense. But the
idea of preparing your child for the storm of racial hatred that awaits
him or her can sometimes be the key to their survival.
Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Professor at Syracuse University and founder of the Your Black World Coalition.
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