Leontine G. sent in a troubling example of the framing of children’s deviance, and their own complicity in this framing. She included two links: one to a “Today” show story about a 7-year-old boy who took his family’s car on a joyride and got caught by police, and one to a CNN story about a 7-year-old boy who took his family’s car on a joyride and got caught by police. Different 7-year-olds. One white, one black.
Click the above link and watch the two videos. It’s pretty disturbing. The white boy sits around his family on the Today show and they all laugh about how funny it was that he took a car out as he’s described as a “cotton candy all-American kid” (puke). The black boy, who did the exact same thing, however, is framed as a criminal on CNN, the tone is much more serious, and police talk about charging him with grand theft.
Here’s your post-racial society.
"But there is good evidence that people, beginning as children, internalize the stereotypes that others have of them. As Ann Ferguson shows in her book, Bad Boys: Public Schools in the Making of Black Masculinity, black children, especially boys, are stereotyped as pre-criminals; not adorably naughty, like white boys, but dangerously bad from the beginning. And studies with children have shown that they often internalize this idea, as in the famous doll experiment in which both black and white children were more likely than not to identify the black doll as bad (see this similar demonstration of white preference on CNN and a discussion of the original doll experiment at ABC). So I think this terribly sad story of Latarian is showing us how children learn to think of themselves as deviant and bad from the society around them. Latarian, remember, is 7, just like Preston. They’re both children, but they are being treated very differently, as these programs illustrate, and it is already starting to sink in."