I read an article from the Washington Post that talked about race relations and Obama's successes and failures therein, including a video interview with the parents and the black kid who touched Obama's hair. He wanted to see if it felt the same as his. During the interview, the dad said that kids see the world through colored lenses, essentially.
While I think that may have been true for their generation and probably is, I think for modern kids, race is so far out of their minds, and they are so use to it, that segregation is 100% foreign to them.
Here is how I think race relations through a kids eyes go: (full comment I left, first to the article and then to my thoughts on race and kids):
As a Hispanic Republican, I found this to be a very interesting piece on President Obama and I am glad that we had our first black President. And I will always be proud of Obama for that, and display his photos proudly along with my favorite President, George W. Bush and previous Presidents. Having said that, I couldn't disagree more with his politics and policies, and I wish it was Herman Cain or Condi Rice who would've been elevated to his position instead. Or say, Colin Powell. Cain was my choice for Republican nominee, although I ended up with Newt as my primary choice, while voting for Santorum in my home state of Arizona. Romney was my last (excluding Paul), but he has my full support and I'll be voting for him proudly.
I also must take issue with the dad's statement that kids see the world in terms of color. I think it couldn't be further from the truth, at least for modern kids. Maybe for him it is true, as I live in a world where segregation is unthinkable and 100% foreign. Growing up in a half-Mexican, half-white (mom is white, dad is Mexican, grandpa spoke Spanish) household, it wasn't until I was in my teen years that I even realized that dad was darker than us. I had never really thought about it.
As a kid, we had tons of Mexican friends and lots of white friends. This is the thought process of a kid like me, who was born in the mid-80s. You go outside, you find a friend, and all you care about is if they are going to be from Mortal Kombat, Power Rangers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or superheroes. Once the choice is made, or we'll do a mix and add videogame characters in there as well, are we going to play with powers? (i.e. you can shoot fireballs, create earthquakes, control fire or ice to freeze the other guy, etc.) or WITHOUT powers (martial arts only, like in Power Rangers). THAT is the only choice that a kid cares about.
Skin tone is thought about for about half a second, and then you start arguing about whether his punch actually counts or not or whether you really did dodge the fireball since, you can't, after all, see it. So it's all about "selling" that you dodged it and your foe accepting the reality. After the fight (we called it either "playfighting" as in "do you want to playfight?" or "characters" as in "Do you want to play characters?") you go inside, get a soda, and play videogames.
That is the thinking process of a child. Color does NOT enter the equation, and never did for my Mexican friends playing with whites, or I'm sure for blacks playing with whites either. It's not like you don't notice it, but it doesn't matter. No one cares. It has no weight. They have more important decisions on their mind like who gets to be Iron Man and whether the black kid actually gets to be the Black Ranger or whether the white kid is going to fight to get the Black Ranger position, at which point the black kid will probably be happy to be the Green, Wihte or Red Ranger instead. "It's Morphin' Time!"
:) *goes to play Resident Evil Zero*