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CNN Special Black and White: Kids on Color

Please don't show it. Please don't tell! Sitting and watching TJ Holmes present CNN's Black & White: Kids on Color, Tuesday morning, I hoped that after the commercial break, I would not hear a discussion on blacks still being color struck. But it happened anyway. I guess it doesn't matter how wide a range of skin colors exist in American families. The tester in the segment asked again and again: Which child is the pretty one, smart one, bad one, etc. Most of the children chose darker skinned pictures as bad or ugly children and the lighter one as good or pretty. Only a few opted out of complexion stereotyping or as old folks say, being color struck. The CNN series examines complexion-based internalized racism in school aged children from white and black races. The study mimics the 1939-1940 doll studies conducted by two black psychologists. First, the white children were asked questions about the cartoon pictures of asexual dolls, nearly hairless, arranged in a range of complexions from light to dark. Most chose the lightest ones as a representation of good and the darkest ones of bad. Then comes the African American children's responses. I held my breath. I tried not to watch. I didn't want to hear the truth. "Why is this one pretty?" a tester asked after a child pointed to the lightest example as pretty. "...because she is light-skinned," a pretty dark-skinned girl said. "Bias towards white is still a part of our culture." A voice over said. Don't fret Blacks because Whites have the same color struck conversations in their households. A pinkish hue is still favored over ruddy or olive complexion--as long as there is still an ability to tan reasonably well. But one needs only to look throughout their own friends and family to see these hurtful stereotypes repeated and reinforced. It is a good thing that stunning beauty is held in the facial bone structure of an individual and not the skin color. I wish someone would tell the kids the truth about beauty because skin color stereotypes are perpetuated through the generations, maintained in the home and reinforced in society. (Oh, good hair counts too.) Read more:


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