Channel 4’s bold and engaging new series will explore a ground-breaking programme that tests for unconscious[i] racial bias in an ordinary class of 11 to 12-year-old pupils.
The Segregation Experiment (w/t) (2x60) is based on pioneering American schemes. Led by leading Multicultural Education academics and scientists, pupils will take part in games, exercises and activities, both in and out of the classroom, that will challenge everything they thought they knew about race.
Based in a London comprehensive school and spread across three weeks, a multicultural class of 24 Year 7 students will partake in a series of eye-opening activities as part of their normal school day. Taught by their regular teachers, the pupils will be observed by a team of experts through each stage of the experiment.
Social Psychologist Professor Rhiannon Turner, Queens University Belfast, said “tests[ii] have revealed that children as young as six are aware of racial differences but, as a society, we do not talk about them and often take a colour-blind approach to race. Is our failure to discuss race part of the problem? This ground-breaking experiment will look at if it is possible to eradicate bias”.
Commissioned by Lucy Leveugle and Alf Lawrie, Channel 4’s Head of Factual Entertainment, The Segregation Experiment (w/t) from Proper Content, will start with the students taking a bespoke version of the Harvard ‘Implicit Association Test’ (IAT) - the benchmark test for unconscious racial bias.
Alf Lawrie said: “This brave series tackles head-on the issue of unconscious racial bias. Its important findings apply beyond just schools, to society at large.”
David DeHaney, Creative Director and Executive Producer, Proper Content added: “Gripping, shocking and funny in equal measure, the kids really throw themselves in and attempt to tackle issues adults wouldn’t dare.”
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[ii] This study by Baron AS and Banaji MR, Department of Psychology, Harvard University, illustrates that by age six, pro-white biases are clearly apparent, and that they continue into adulthood: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16371144
Research conducted by Professor Jennifer Steele (2018), Faculty of Health and Amanda Williams, School of Education, University of Bristol also shows similar results, on both the Implicit Association Test and other implicit bias tests: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/11/171127152100.htm