Saturday, April 4, 2009

How 'Bout a Lump of Racial Dialogue with Your Morning Coffee?

This link sends you to a segment from Good Morning America that played Thursday morning.

It's not that long, so I urge you to watch it. It's not need-to-know news or anything. However, this clips provides some insights into the racial climate of today. Ugh, a conversation about race, that's too heavy for me, you say? Believe it or not, it's actually kind of precious.

Basically, Diane and Robin chat with one panel of White children and one panel of Black children about their thoughts on race and racism.

Again, you can watch it here (sorry, ABC wouldn't let me embed the footage):

So, what do you think readers? Are kids today less racist than kids from the previous decade? Or rather, have 21st Century kids grown up in more tolerant, liberal times? Have attitudes about race shifted so severely in the last 10 years that kids think of skin color as just a mere afterthought? How have they been influenced by the election of a Black president?

My thing is, how reliable are kids anyway when it comes to measuring attitudes about social constructs, like race? Racism and prejudice are not inherent; nobody's born racist. Intolerance is something you have to be taught - by your parents, society, schools, etc. As a kid, I lived in a large apartment complex and played with a multi-racial crew of children. Save the fact that I spoke a different language from them, I never thought of them as different from me.

So while I think it is awesome that these kids seem unaffected by race (save the fact that they have noticed that there are a rainbow of skin colors in the world), I'm not going to jump to any conclusions. I'd like to see Robin and Diane have another convo with these kids in about 10 years. And if they maintain the attitudes they displayed as children, then I'd say we're on our way to achieving the post-racial America dream.

One thing I will say is that there has been a noticeable change in power dynamics in the last 20 years. Those kids are perceptive; Oprah and Will Smith are two of the most powerful people in the world. And how cool is it that they consider Michelle Obama to be one of the most beautiful women in the world?

1 comment:

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