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freemanjud
Posts: 23

Readings:

Wait a minute: wasn’t it just recently that we were talking about the problem of the definitions of race and ethnicity and the arbitrary nature of these categories? Holy moley, how did we get here?

As we saw with the children in Anderson Cooper’s 2010 piece on skin color preferences when asked to judge what skin color young children preferred, the general sense was that they preferred lighter skin to darker skin. The question of whether adults preferred a particular skin color again, according to the children interviewed, seemed to be that, “Yes, they do. They prefer the lighter skin colored people.”

Now granted, Cooper’s study was not scientific and therefore could easily be questioned, but it is a quasi-recreation of an study done by Kenneth and Mamie Clark in 1940-1941, a study that was at the core of the arguments made in favor of the plaintiff in the landmark Brown v Board of Education case that led to desegregation of the nation’s public schools after the Supreme Court ruled in 1954. A summary of that study by the Clarks in the link as the reading above. It’s essential that you read it!

So what explains why the children feel the way they do? Does Paul Bloom’s article offer any explanation? Is Mahzarin Banaji’s research helpful in this context? In other words, are there factors that affect the growth and views of children? Offer your thoughts on this and support them with specific, clear evidence. In other words, take a thoughtful post taking a position on these questions, reflecting what you learned from the three readings and what you saw in the Anderson Cooper video.

Be sure to respond to the comments of at least two people who precede you (or follow you) in this discussion.

[BTW, in case you were not in class on Wednesday, the URLs for the various pieces we watched in class are:

part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cWgV5sigbQ (5:27)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQACkg5i4AY (5:18)

part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Xh1dkE7yn8 (2:00)

part 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ll9O9Inohnc (1:15)

Kids on Race: The Hidden Picture, 2012:

Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPVNJgfDwpw (9:29)

Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9OKgUdQF-Fg (6:25)

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mrschickenfingers
Posts: 13

The Roots of Racial Preference

Growing up, I watched Hannah Montana religiously. There was one storyline in particular that I lived for: Hannah Montana and friends versus the Ashleys. Hannah, a teenaged musical icon, was the show’s protagonist. The Ashleys were the antagonists...and they were black. In fact, the Ashleys were the only relevant black characters on the show. They were mean, evil, catty, and morally reprehensible! Hannah and company, on the other hand, were pure, relatable, funny, kind, and responsible role models. This is just one of many examples of black characters being associated with negative qualities in media.


At first, you might think that this is a silly little anecdote. But, it’s actually very telling. The media is filled with relationships like these in which black people are portrayed as the villains. This has everything to do with racial preference. Children are extremely malleable, so when they are consuming media and seeing that their intended role models are white (in contrast to the antagonists, who are black), they naturally associate blackness with negativity. And it isn’t just television--this is seen in children’s books, homework assignments, art, even just general representation. This relates heavily to Banaji’s research, which reveals that when children see a “majority of power and influence concentrated among one race,” they favor that race. I think that this is a clear driving factor behind racial preference, and I would even extend Banaji’s assertion to include positivity and success as being concentrated among white people (as seen in media). Hannah Montana, the white girl, is a beautiful, successful star. The Ashleys, however, are the jealous, mean snobs. That’s reason enough for a child to point to a black doll when asked “which doll is bad?”


Besides media, a child’s immediate environment will impact his/her unconscious racial perceptions. According to Bloom, when babies are separated into groups, they tend to favor their own group. In this context, Bloom is saying that babies are sorted into groups based on shirt color. But, babies are often separated into homogeneous groups at birth. Many people have children with members of the same race and primarily associate with members of the same rice. For example, a white man is more likely to establish a romantic relationship with a white woman. This white couple will then produce a white child. It’s probable that the white couple’s friend group and extended family will be white as well. This is an immediate separation. So, in accordance with Bloom’s research, these babies will automatically favor white people. If a baby is rarely exposed to members of different races, it will likely be less comfortable around them. As Bloom says, we are biased to our own kind.


At the same time, though, it would seem that diversity results in GREATER levels of racial preference (which I found very shocking!). According to the study by Kenneth and Mamie Clark, “the children in southern schools are less pronounced in their preference for the white doll.” I expected the children from the northern, mixed-race schools to be less biased because they were exposed to diversity. This, however, is not the case. In fact, for every preference category (which doll is bad/good/fun to play with/pretty), northern children preferred the white doll more than the southern segregated children did. My own experiences at a somewhat diverse high school have led me to be more appreciative of diversity. Perhaps such young children don’t yet have the capacity to value diversity? Perhaps diversity results in a heightened sense of racial difference? It’s very interesting, and I think that these data contradict the ideas that Banaji outlines: Banaji says that children lessen their biases when exposed to more diverse environments where everyone is being treated equally. It could be that, since this study is from the 40s, students in the north were not being treated equally, so the children were hyper-aware of racial differences, leading them to express racial preferences that are surprising to me.


Banaji’s research reminded me of Derek Black, who was taught to be racist from a young age. His situation is almost exactly like what Banaji describes: because of his environment, he began to believe that one race was better than another. Ultimately, his bias did lessen when he was exposed to diversity--Banaji claims that this happens often when people begin to see everyone being treated equal in diverse environments. I definitely think that the time period of that study plays a major role in the north/south divides. Now, I think that true diversity has a positive effect, rather than the negative one seen in the Clark study. I do have one question regarding this study, though. The results ultimately led to the Brown v. Board decision, which provisioned for the desegregation of schools. But, the results from the more diverse schools indicated higher levels of white preference. How would these results have been used to argue against segregation? I imagine that racists would have assumed the position that different races are better off when they are separated, suggesting that since the southern segregated schoolchildren show less racial preference towards white dolls, they have stronger senses of identity.


I also want to comment on one clip from the video we watched in class on Wednesday. One black girl, when asked why she preferred the white doll said that she didn’t really know why she thought that. Clearly, this racial preference was ingrained in her by the people around her. Her comments were poignant: they emphasize the idea that racism is taught and that racism has no logical basis.


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starrynight
Posts: 12

Racial Preferences

When it all boils down, we are shaped by our surroundings. Whether this means our families, our schools, the TV shows that we watch, the books we read, or even our physical environment, there is no doubt they affect us. Children, especially, are easily permeable to any information that crosses their paths. As discussed in both the study done in the videos and in the article “Racial identification and Preference in Negro Children,” children have obtained a clear liking and disliking for others based on the color of their skin. It is interesting to note and try to comprehend the fact that in Kenneth and Mamie Clark’s doll study, that the majority of the black children preferred the white doll. This same notion of bias against themselves is seen in the videos when black children picked the faces of white people. It is truly disturbing and saddening to hear the children’s responses when asked why they picked the particularly race. One quote that stood out to me was Clark’s study, “I burned my face and made it spoil.” Spoil? Spoil? Is this what our society is teaching these young children of color? This disturbing fact that the children literally think their own appearance is “spoiled” all ties back to our surroundings.


Blooms article offers the ideas on how babies actually have an idea on mental life. This is the issue. We assume babies are these pure, clueless, perfect people who have so little knowledge and so much to learn. This is entirely true, to an extent. Blooms studies showed that even 3 month olds preferred the playing with babies with the color of their own skin. What this really means is, babies can acknowledge differences. They are aware of themselves and what is and isn’t similar to them. However, I think the problem lays in what they see as they grow up, in regard to how people treat these differences. Banji’s study found white people thinking the black people are angry, and just overall paint people of color in a negative light. Where does this come from? Again, tying back to the media, their family, and their overall surroundings.

What this all means to me, is that there is a huge flaw in the information presented to children. We must, as a society, figure out a way to make it so children of color do not have negative perceptions of themselves. Also, we must ensure white children don’t have negative perception of others. With things like the Dove ad we watched in class today, or just the overall representation of people of color in tv shows or books, biases are placed into people's minds without them even realizing it.


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CoryInTheHouse
Posts: 15

Originally posted by mrschickenfingers on October 12, 2017 08:19

Growing up, I watched Hannah Montana religiously. There was one storyline in particular that I lived for: Hannah Montana and friends versus the Ashleys. Hannah, a teenaged musical icon, was the show’s protagonist. The Ashleys were the antagonists...and they were black. In fact, the Ashleys were the only relevant black characters on the show. They were mean, evil, catty, and morally reprehensible! Hannah and company, on the other hand, were pure, relatable, funny, kind, and responsible role models. This is just one of many examples of black characters being associated with negative qualities in media.

Just a quick note on the opening annecdote.

In Hannah Montana there were two main antagonist bullies, Ashley and Amber (who I assume you're referring to when you mention "The Ashleys"). Ashley and Amber are Miley and Lily's opponents throughout the series, but it should also be noted that only Amber was black, while Ashley was Asian. Obviously, this shouldn't completely dismiss your point, as there was indeed a clear lack of prominent/positive black roles throughout the series; one of the only other notable black characters was Roxy, Hannah Montana's bodyguard. However, saying that "The Ashleys were the antagonists...and they were black" is a bit misleading as it implies the show purposefully featured a group of all black bullies, while all the other white characters were the good guys.

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mrschickenfingers
Posts: 13

Originally posted by CoryInTheHouse on October 12, 2017 18:26

Originally posted by mrschickenfingers on October 12, 2017 08:19

Growing up, I watched Hannah Montana religiously. There was one storyline in particular that I lived for: Hannah Montana and friends versus the Ashleys. Hannah, a teenaged musical icon, was the show’s protagonist. The Ashleys were the antagonists...and they were black. In fact, the Ashleys were the only relevant black characters on the show. They were mean, evil, catty, and morally reprehensible! Hannah and company, on the other hand, were pure, relatable, funny, kind, and responsible role models. This is just one of many examples of black characters being associated with negative qualities in media.

Just a quick note on the opening annecdote.

In Hannah Montana there were two main antagonist bullies, Ashley and Amber (who I assume you're referring to when you mention "The Ashleys"). Ashley and Amber are Miley and Lily's opponents throughout the series, but it should also be noted that only Amber was black, while Ashley was Asian. Obviously, this shouldn't completely dismiss your point, as there was indeed a clear lack of prominent/positive black roles throughout the series; one of the only other notable black characters was Roxy, Hannah Montana's bodyguard. However, saying that "The Ashleys were the antagonists...and they were black" is a bit misleading as it implies the show purposefully featured a group of all black bullies, while all the other white characters were the good guys.

You're so right! My Hannah Montana knowledge has definitely been deteriorating over the years, so I didn't get it quite right. Thank you for bringing this to my attention. You bring up the Asian character, Ashley. She is one of the only other prominent characters of color on the show, and she is portrayed negatively. We see these two people of color, and they are both mean. Representation for Asian characters is so limited in the media, so it's really harmful that one of the only Asian characters in a children's TV show would be the antagonist. Also, I don't think that the show purposely made the bullies people of color, but it was definitely a subconscious indicator of racial bias. In fact, I bet the producers thought they were being progressive by casting non-white actors, but their racial preferences still came through. Also, a note on Roxy: she was portrayed very stereotypically and was of the working class, performing a service for wealthy white people. I think that this show is one of the clear examples of media that subconsciously breeds racial preference. Anyways, thanks for correcting me!

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CoryInTheHouse
Posts: 15

Originally posted by mrschickenfingers on October 12, 2017 18:43

Originally posted by CoryInTheHouse on October 12, 2017 18:26

Originally posted by mrschickenfingers on October 12, 2017 08:19

Growing up, I watched Hannah Montana religiously. There was one storyline in particular that I lived for: Hannah Montana and friends versus the Ashleys. Hannah, a teenaged musical icon, was the show’s protagonist. The Ashleys were the antagonists...and they were black. In fact, the Ashleys were the only relevant black characters on the show. They were mean, evil, catty, and morally reprehensible! Hannah and company, on the other hand, were pure, relatable, funny, kind, and responsible role models. This is just one of many examples of black characters being associated with negative qualities in media.

Just a quick note on the opening annecdote.

In Hannah Montana there were two main antagonist bullies, Ashley and Amber (who I assume you're referring to when you mention "The Ashleys"). Ashley and Amber are Miley and Lily's opponents throughout the series, but it should also be noted that only Amber was black, while Ashley was Asian. Obviously, this shouldn't completely dismiss your point, as there was indeed a clear lack of prominent/positive black roles throughout the series; one of the only other notable black characters was Roxy, Hannah Montana's bodyguard. However, saying that "The Ashleys were the antagonists...and they were black" is a bit misleading as it implies the show purposefully featured a group of all black bullies, while all the other white characters were the good guys.

You're so right! My Hannah Montana knowledge has definitely been deteriorating over the years, so I didn't get it quite right. Thank you for bringing this to my attention. You bring up the Asian character, Ashley. She is one of the only other prominent characters of color on the show, and she is portrayed negatively. We see these two people of color, and they are both mean. Representation for Asian characters is so limited in the media, so it's really harmful that one of the only Asian characters in a children's TV show would be the antagonist. Also, I don't think that the show purposely made the bullies people of color, but it was definitely a subconscious indicator of racial bias. In fact, I bet the producers thought they were being progressive by casting non-white actors, but their racial preferences still came through. Also, a note on Roxy: she was portrayed very stereotypically. I think that this show is one of the clear examples of media that subconsciously breeds racial preference. Anyways, thanks for correcting me!

Wow, looking back, Roxy is blatantly stereotyped. It's weird because when you watch these shows as kids, it all just seems normal to you. With Roxy it was like, "oh look there's another sassy black women with sassy lines (e.g. 'Roxy like a puma')." But, now it's very clear that these types of characters just play into normalizing stereotypes with children.

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peppermint
Posts: 9

. Originally posted by mrschickenfingers on October 12, 2017 18:53

Originally posted by CoryInTheHouse on October 12, 2017 18:26

Originally posted by mrschickenfingers on October 12, 2017 08:19

Growing up, I watched Hannah Montana religiously. There was one storyline in particular that I lived for: Hannah Montana and friends versus the Ashleys. Hannah, a teenaged musical icon, was the show’s protagonist. The Ashleys were the antagonists...and they were black. In fact, the Ashleys were the only relevant black characters on the show. They were mean, evil, catty, and morally reprehensible! Hannah and company, on the other hand, were pure, relatable, funny, kind, and responsible role models. This is just one of many examples of black characters being associated with negative qualities in media.

Just a quick note on the opening annecdote.

In Hannah Montana there were two main antagonist bullies, Ashley and Amber (who I assume you're referring to when you mention "The Ashleys"). Ashley and Amber are Miley and Lily's opponents throughout the series, but it should also be noted that only Amber was black, while Ashley was Asian. Obviously, this shouldn't completely dismiss your point, as there was indeed a clear lack of prominent/positive black roles throughout the series; one of the only other notable black characters was Roxy, Hannah Montana's bodyguard. However, saying that "The Ashleys were the antagonists...and they were black" is a bit misleading as it implies the show purposefully featured a group of all black bullies, while all the other white characters were the good guys.

I think that it is really interesting how you bring up media representation (or the lack thereof) of Asian characters. Along the lines of the "sassy black sidekick" trope, Asian characters tend to follow the the "nerd" stereotyping. One example of racial stereotyping in Disney shows is that of South Asians, like the characters Baljeet from Phineas and Ferb and Ravi from Jessie. Both of these characters are presented as stereotypically awkward and nerdy, and both of these shows tend to racially insensitively reference Indian culture

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Winter8
Posts: 14

"Race"

It is so upsetting to hear these prejudices at such a young age. Why do they believe these things? How possibly could this be explained?


In the video clips that we watched in class we saw different children being interviewed, they were asked to point to the picture of the child that answered the question. For example one of the questions was, “who is the nice child” A majority of the children (white and colored) pointed to the white child. Another question was “point to the ugly child, this time a majority of the children pointed to the colored child. The upsetting thing to me was not only did these children have prejudices against certain races but that the colored children pointed to the colored child when asking questions about the ugly child or mean child. When the colored children were asked why they made these choices they said things like “I don't like brown skin, it's dirty”. Which is extremely upsetting to me that already at such a young age these children want to be someone else.


Media has come so far that children feel as though white is the superior “race”. For example in the dove commercial from a few years ago, it showed an image of a colored person before using dove and a white woman after showing that she is now “clean”.


In Paul Bloom’s article he interviewed hundreds of children (white and colored), he asked them questions similar to the ones from the videos and he placed pictures of 4 people, 2 colored and 2 white, they had the same shape and size the difference was just the color. He called it “the doll study”. He interviewed children ranging from the age of 3-7 and children from the north and children from the south to get different backgrounds. One of the questions asked the children to point to the doll that looks most like them and they were very good at identifying that. The children however seemed to not understanding why they were a different color, one girls said “I look brown because i got a suntan in the summer.”


We finally get an explanation of why children are like this in Banaji’s research. He said that at the age or 3 or 4 children get the same level of bias as the adults around them. Children are influenced by the way their parents act towards and around other people. If you make a face at someone, your child with think that they should not like that person and people like them so they will form a bias towards them. So an explanation for why children are like this at such a young age is, their parents.

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Winter8
Posts: 14

Originally posted by starrynight on October 12, 2017 17:00

When it all boils down, we are shaped by our surroundings. Whether this means our families, our schools, the TV shows that we watch, the books we read, or even our physical environment, there is no doubt they affect us. Children, especially, are easily permeable to any information that crosses their paths. As discussed in both the study done in the videos and in the article “Racial identification and Preference in Negro Children,” children have obtained a clear liking and disliking for others based on the color of their skin. It is interesting to note and try to comprehend the fact that in Kenneth and Mamie Clark’s doll study, that the majority of the black children preferred the white doll. This same notion of bias against themselves is seen in the videos when black children picked the faces of white people. It is truly disturbing and saddening to hear the children’s responses when asked why they picked the particularly race. One quote that stood out to me was Clark’s study, “I burned my face and made it spoil.” Spoil? Spoil? Is this what our society is teaching these young children of color? This disturbing fact that the children literally think their own appearance is “spoiled” all ties back to our surroundings.


Blooms article offers the ideas on how babies actually have an idea on mental life. This is the issue. We assume babies are these pure, clueless, perfect people who have so little knowledge and so much to learn. This is entirely true, to an extent. Blooms studies showed that even 3 month olds preferred the playing with babies with the color of their own skin. What this really means is, babies can acknowledge differences. They are aware of themselves and what is and isn’t similar to them. However, I think the problem lays in what they see as they grow up, in regard to how people treat these differences. Banji’s study found white people thinking the black people are angry, and just overall paint people of color in a negative light. Where does this come from? Again, tying back to the media, their family, and their overall surroundings.

What this all means to me, is that there is a huge flaw in the information presented to children. We must, as a society, figure out a way to make it so children of color do not have negative perceptions of themselves. Also, we must ensure white children don’t have negative perception of others. With things like the Dove ad we watched in class today, or just the overall representation of people of color in tv shows or books, biases are placed into people's minds without them even realizing it.


I too was quite upset when hearing the childrens responses to their decisions in the interviews. It is sad that the children are so upset with their skin color that they think that they have to come up with excuses for why it is the way that it is. I also agree that the things around us shape who we are and how we think. If someone tells us that someone or something is bad and that is the way we were raised, that is how we are going to think for the rest of our lives.

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Winter8
Posts: 14

Originally posted by mrschickenfingers on October 12, 2017 08:19

Growing up, I watched Hannah Montana religiously. There was one storyline in particular that I lived for: Hannah Montana and friends versus the Ashleys. Hannah, a teenaged musical icon, was the show’s protagonist. The Ashleys were the antagonists...and they were black. In fact, the Ashleys were the only relevant black characters on the show. They were mean, evil, catty, and morally reprehensible! Hannah and company, on the other hand, were pure, relatable, funny, kind, and responsible role models. This is just one of many examples of black characters being associated with negative qualities in media.


At first, you might think that this is a silly little anecdote. But, it’s actually very telling. The media is filled with relationships like these in which black people are portrayed as the villains. This has everything to do with racial preference. Children are extremely malleable, so when they are consuming media and seeing that their intended role models are white (in contrast to the antagonists, who are black), they naturally associate blackness with negativity. And it isn’t just television--this is seen in children’s books, homework assignments, art, even just general representation. This relates heavily to Banaji’s research, which reveals that when children see a “majority of power and influence concentrated among one race,” they favor that race. I think that this is a clear driving factor behind racial preference, and I would even extend Banaji’s assertion to include positivity and success as being concentrated among white people. Hannah Montana, the white girl, is a beautiful, successful star. The Ashleys, however, are the jealous, mean snobs. That’s reason enough for a child to point to a black doll when asked “which doll is bad?”


Besides media, a child’s immediate environment will impact his/her unconscious racial perceptions. According to Bloom, when babies are separated into groups, they tend to favor their own group. In this context, Bloom is saying that babies are sorted into groups based on shirt color. But, babies are often separated into homogeneous groups at birth. Many people have children with members of the same race and primarily associate with members of the same rice. For example, a white man is more likely to establish a romantic relationship with a white woman. This white couple will then produce a white child. It’s probable that the white couple’s friend group and extended family will be white as well. This is an immediate separation. So, in accordance with Bloom’s research, these babies will automatically favor white people. If a baby is rarely exposed to members of different races, it will likely be less comfortable around them. As Bloom says, we are biased to our own kind.


At the same time, though, it would seem that diversity results in GREATER levels of racial preference (which I found very shocking!). According to the study by Kenneth and Mamie Clark, “the children in southern schools are less pronounced in their preference for the white doll.” I expected the children from the northern, mixed-race schools to be less biased because they were exposed to diversity. This, however, is not the case. In fact, for every preference category (which doll is bad/good/fun to play with/pretty), northern children preferred the white doll more than the southern segregated children did. My own experiences at a somewhat diverse high school have led me to be more appreciative of diversity. Perhaps such young children don’t yet have the capacity to value diversity? Perhaps diversity results in a heightened sense of racial difference? It’s very interesting, and I think that these data contradict the ideas that Banaji outlines: Banaji says that children lessen their biases when exposed to more diverse environments where everyone is being treated equally. It could be that, since this study is from the 40s, students in the north were not being treated equally, so the children were hyper-aware of racial differences, leading them to express racial preferences that are surprising to me.


Banaji’s research reminded me of Derek Black, who was taught to be racist from a young age. His situation is almost exactly like what Banaji describes: because of his environment, he began to believe that one race was better than another. Ultimately, his bias did lessen when he was exposed to diversity--Banaji claims that this happens often when people begin to see everyone being treated equal in diverse environments. I definitely think that the time period of that study plays a major role in the north/south divides. Now, I think that true diversity has a positive effect, rather than the negative one seen in the Clark study. I do have one question regarding this study, though. The results ultimately led to the Brown v. Board decision, which provisioned for the desegregation of schools. But, the results from the more diverse schools indicated higher levels of white preference. How would these results have been used to argue against segregation? I imagine that racists would have assumed the position that different races are better off when they are separated, suggesting that since the southern segregated schoolchildren show less racial preference towards white dolls, they have stronger senses of identity.


I also want to comment on one clip from the video we watched in class on Wednesday. One black girl, when asked why she preferred the white doll said that she didn’t really know why she thought that. Clearly, this racial preference was ingrained in her by the people around her. Her comments were poignant: they emphasize the idea that racism is taught and that racism has no logical basis.


As a child i too also watched Hannah Montana all the time and I remember the Ashleys. They were portrayed to be people that we should all hate, but as a child you do not really understand why. You know that they are bad people but it is hard to understand at such a young age that they are bad people, but not all colored people are bad. It is similar to current events now how there is terrorism in the world and people believe that all muslims are terrorists, however that is not true. There are bad people in every race.

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potatosalad
Posts: 13

Originally posted by mrschickenfingers on October 12, 2017 08:19

Growing up, I watched Hannah Montana religiously. There was one storyline in particular that I lived for: Hannah Montana and friends versus the Ashleys. Hannah, a teenaged musical icon, was the show’s protagonist. The Ashleys were the antagonists...and they were black. In fact, the Ashleys were the only relevant black characters on the show. They were mean, evil, catty, and morally reprehensible! Hannah and company, on the other hand, were pure, relatable, funny, kind, and responsible role models. This is just one of many examples of black characters being associated with negative qualities in media.


At first, you might think that this is a silly little anecdote. But, it’s actually very telling. The media is filled with relationships like these in which black people are portrayed as the villains. This has everything to do with racial preference. Children are extremely malleable, so when they are consuming media and seeing that their intended role models are white (in contrast to the antagonists, who are black), they naturally associate blackness with negativity. And it isn’t just television--this is seen in children’s books, homework assignments, art, even just general representation. This relates heavily to Banaji’s research, which reveals that when children see a “majority of power and influence concentrated among one race,” they favor that race. I think that this is a clear driving factor behind racial preference, and I would even extend Banaji’s assertion to include positivity and success as being concentrated among white people. Hannah Montana, the white girl, is a beautiful, successful star. The Ashleys, however, are the jealous, mean snobs. That’s reason enough for a child to point to a black doll when asked “which doll is bad?”


Besides media, a child’s immediate environment will impact his/her unconscious racial perceptions. According to Bloom, when babies are separated into groups, they tend to favor their own group. In this context, Bloom is saying that babies are sorted into groups based on shirt color. But, babies are often separated into homogeneous groups at birth. Many people have children with members of the same race and primarily associate with members of the same rice. For example, a white man is more likely to establish a romantic relationship with a white woman. This white couple will then produce a white child. It’s probable that the white couple’s friend group and extended family will be white as well. This is an immediate separation. So, in accordance with Bloom’s research, these babies will automatically favor white people. If a baby is rarely exposed to members of different races, it will likely be less comfortable around them. As Bloom says, we are biased to our own kind.


At the same time, though, it would seem that diversity results in GREATER levels of racial preference (which I found very shocking!). According to the study by Kenneth and Mamie Clark, “the children in southern schools are less pronounced in their preference for the white doll.” I expected the children from the northern, mixed-race schools to be less biased because they were exposed to diversity. This, however, is not the case. In fact, for every preference category (which doll is bad/good/fun to play with/pretty), northern children preferred the white doll more than the southern segregated children did. My own experiences at a somewhat diverse high school have led me to be more appreciative of diversity. Perhaps such young children don’t yet have the capacity to value diversity? Perhaps diversity results in a heightened sense of racial difference? It’s very interesting, and I think that these data contradict the ideas that Banaji outlines: Banaji says that children lessen their biases when exposed to more diverse environments where everyone is being treated equally. It could be that, since this study is from the 40s, students in the north were not being treated equally, so the children were hyper-aware of racial differences, leading them to express racial preferences that are surprising to me.


Banaji’s research reminded me of Derek Black, who was taught to be racist from a young age. His situation is almost exactly like what Banaji describes: because of his environment, he began to believe that one race was better than another. Ultimately, his bias did lessen when he was exposed to diversity--Banaji claims that this happens often when people begin to see everyone being treated equal in diverse environments. I definitely think that the time period of that study plays a major role in the north/south divides. Now, I think that true diversity has a positive effect, rather than the negative one seen in the Clark study. I do have one question regarding this study, though. The results ultimately led to the Brown v. Board decision, which provisioned for the desegregation of schools. But, the results from the more diverse schools indicated higher levels of white preference. How would these results have been used to argue against segregation? I imagine that racists would have assumed the position that different races are better off when they are separated, suggesting that since the southern segregated schoolchildren show less racial preference towards white dolls, they have stronger senses of identity.


I also want to comment on one clip from the video we watched in class on Wednesday. One black girl, when asked why she preferred the white doll said that she didn’t really know why she thought that. Clearly, this racial preference was ingrained in her by the people around her. Her comments were poignant: they emphasize the idea that racism is taught and that racism has no logical basis.


I thought your point about Hannah Montana was very interesting! POC are barely represented in movies and TV shows, and when they are they're portrayed in a negative light, and almost always the protagonist/hero of the story is white. And if the POC isn't the villain, they play the side character/sidekick of the main white character, which make viewers assumes that POC aren't as important as white people.

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peppermint
Posts: 9

Racial Preference: A Fact and A Fiction

We're all aware that race, genetically, doesn't exist. There is no "race gene", and two people of different races could be genetically similar. But it is hard to say that race, as a social construct, doesn't exist in modern society when presented with both the original Doll Study and the studies presented in the Anderson Cooper videos.

In the Banaji study in the Globe article "Racism Learned," you also see the effects of racial preferencing on children. Children in the study were shown a racially ambiguous image of a person. They were then asked to identify if the person was white or black. If the person said they were white, they would most likely associate them with happy. If they viewed the person as black, they would view them as "angry." These children also identified images of Asian faces, and deemed these as angry as well. Or these biases may also be picked up unconsciously at an even younger age, according to "the Moral Life of Babies", which claims that infants can distinguish good from bad, which vis a vis a racist society, children internalize with race.

So where does this come from? In Kids on Race: The Hidden Picture, 2012 the woman conducting insinuates that these attitudes come from a multitude of sources: your family, your school environment, and media. At least politically, the biggest aspect of socialization is the family. Your political views tend to represent that of your family. Is this the same for race relations? I think it is at a young age, as your family is your only source for knowledge, yet may evolve with different factors such as educational or neighborhood demographics and perceptions. However, it was evident that many of these children did get at least some of their racial viewpoints from their family. One boy in the study claimed that since his parents were white, they would definitely not approve of him having black friends. This is then continued even in the teenage years, as one white boy is sure his parents would not approve of an interracial relationship.

Growing up in a town 98+ percent white, I definitely heard a lot of sentiments from white students in those videos echoed in my early childhood experience. In a grade of 100 students, there was one person of color. People would laugh at him for his hair, or how different he looked from other people. Even now, in 2017, one of my childhood friends who still lives there is in an interracial relationship, and is made fun of by her peers for it. In an all white environment there is this ridiculous notion of "fear" of people of color. I remember being 6 years old and watching my grandmother insult people of color as being "stupid" and telling me to move away from them at the grocery store. This notion of "fear" doesn't even have to be as explicit as it was from my grandmother, it can be exercised through implicit bias, another concept mentioned in the Anderson Cooper video. Watching that video really gave me chills from my past, and gave me a greater understanding of how harmful not experiencing diversity firsthand can be for young people, as their ideas and perceptions are molded. Personally, I try everyday to overcome the racial bias I was exposed to earlier life, but sometimes I look towards the social media accounts of people from my elementary school who are still stuck in that vile mentality. It's truly disgusting and disheartening to see racist sentiments, including the proliferation of the confederate flag and confederate imagery. We need to as a society move past this aspect of racial socialization in order to prevent these deplorable racist attitudes later in life.


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number four
Posts: 5

What's Up with Racial Preference among Children?

The most profound thing that I realized from the doll study done by the Clarks is that, even from a young age, children are able to recognize the way that society categorizes other humans. This knowledge was demonstrated in the kids responses to requests 5-8, as they matched the white doll with the question of which was white, and mainly chose the colored doll at the request of choosing the colored or negro doll. Furthermore, the children of the study mostly associated the white doll with the more positive questions 1,2, and 4, and about 60% said the colored doll was the bad one, compared to only 17% who thought the white doll was bad. Regardless of the race of the subject, the white dolls were generally associated with good qualities. This could bring into question how strong are the moral compasses of the children? Well, according to the Bloom article, they have a pretty good understanding of right and wrong even from infancy, because the study shows how babies would prefer to be associated with a helper character rather than the one that is a hinderer. The Harvard study does reinforce the findings of the study because it proves how influenced children are by their surroundings. Children are not initially born with prejudice toward a certain skin color of race, but, for example, if they hear their parents discussing black people in a negative connotation, they are immediately influenced to think the same as their parents.

So overall, these further studies show that children do have a bias towards one race over another, mostly because of their perception of right and wrong as well as outside influences. Like mrschickenfingers talks about in her post, media outlets including children's television projects the role of the antagonist as a person who is not white, like the girls in Hannah Montana and other Disney movies like the Lion King and Snow White.

I agree with winter8 when he/she says "Media has come so far that children feel as though white is the superior “race”." This is very true especially because of how hard it is to find shows where the main character is not a white person with a cast with only minor characters who are different races. On Disney Chanel, the only black characters I can remember off the top of my head from my childhood is Mr. Moseby from the Suite Life of Zach and Cody, and the little girl on the show about the nanny who helps out the rich family, who is characterized as a very sassy, demanding, and spoiled child.

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mrschickenfingers
Posts: 13

Originally posted by starrynight on October 12, 2017 17:00

When it all boils down, we are shaped by our surroundings. Whether this means our families, our schools, the TV shows that we watch, the books we read, or even our physical environment, there is no doubt they affect us. Children, especially, are easily permeable to any information that crosses their paths. As discussed in both the study done in the videos and in the article “Racial identification and Preference in Negro Children,” children have obtained a clear liking and disliking for others based on the color of their skin. It is interesting to note and try to comprehend the fact that in Kenneth and Mamie Clark’s doll study, that the majority of the black children preferred the white doll. This same notion of bias against themselves is seen in the videos when black children picked the faces of white people. It is truly disturbing and saddening to hear the children’s responses when asked why they picked the particularly race. One quote that stood out to me was Clark’s study, “I burned my face and made it spoil.” Spoil? Spoil? Is this what our society is teaching these young children of color? This disturbing fact that the children literally think their own appearance is “spoiled” all ties back to our surroundings.


Blooms article offers the ideas on how babies actually have an idea on mental life. This is the issue. We assume babies are these pure, clueless, perfect people who have so little knowledge and so much to learn. This is entirely true, to an extent. Blooms studies showed that even 3 month olds preferred the playing with babies with the color of their own skin. What this really means is, babies can acknowledge differences. They are aware of themselves and what is and isn’t similar to them. However, I think the problem lays in what they see as they grow up, in regard to how people treat these differences. Banji’s study found white people thinking the black people are angry, and just overall paint people of color in a negative light. Where does this come from? Again, tying back to the media, their family, and their overall surroundings.

What this all means to me, is that there is a huge flaw in the information presented to children. We must, as a society, figure out a way to make it so children of color do not have negative perceptions of themselves. Also, we must ensure white children don’t have negative perception of others. With things like the Dove ad we watched in class today, or just the overall representation of people of color in tv shows or books, biases are placed into people's minds without them even realizing it.


I agree with your final assertion. I think that it's extremely important for media to represent people of color in a positive, wholesome, and accurate light. Recently, I've seen children's books that attempt to do this. One of them is about a Muslim child, and I assume that it contains information on Muslim traditions/culture and seeks to normalize them in the minds of young children. I think that such children's books are beneficial for both Muslim and non-Muslim children. For Muslim children, the book strengthens their confidence and identity; it also exposes other children to other cultures. Nevertheless, I think that it would be very difficult to combat the racial preference that children develop in response to their largely homogenous environments. For example, if a white children has white parents who have mostly white friends, the child will ultimately become biased towards white people (at least according to Bloom's study, which says that we favor our own kind). Do you have any particular ideas for alleviating prejudice on this level?

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starrynight
Posts: 12

Originally posted by mrschickenfingers on October 12, 2017 20:25

Originally posted by starrynight on October 12, 2017 17:00

When it all boils down, we are shaped by our surroundings. Whether this means our families, our schools, the TV shows that we watch, the books we read, or even our physical environment, there is no doubt they affect us. Children, especially, are easily permeable to any information that crosses their paths. As discussed in both the study done in the videos and in the article “Racial identification and Preference in Negro Children,” children have obtained a clear liking and disliking for others based on the color of their skin. It is interesting to note and try to comprehend the fact that in Kenneth and Mamie Clark’s doll study, that the majority of the black children preferred the white doll. This same notion of bias against themselves is seen in the videos when black children picked the faces of white people. It is truly disturbing and saddening to hear the children’s responses when asked why they picked the particularly race. One quote that stood out to me was Clark’s study, “I burned my face and made it spoil.” Spoil? Spoil? Is this what our society is teaching these young children of color? This disturbing fact that the children literally think their own appearance is “spoiled” all ties back to our surroundings.


Blooms article offers the ideas on how babies actually have an idea on mental life. This is the issue. We assume babies are these pure, clueless, perfect people who have so little knowledge and so much to learn. This is entirely true, to an extent. Blooms studies showed that even 3 month olds preferred the playing with babies with the color of their own skin. What this really means is, babies can acknowledge differences. They are aware of themselves and what is and isn’t similar to them. However, I think the problem lays in what they see as they grow up, in regard to how people treat these differences. Banji’s study found white people thinking the black people are angry, and just overall paint people of color in a negative light. Where does this come from? Again, tying back to the media, their family, and their overall surroundings.

What this all means to me, is that there is a huge flaw in the information presented to children. We must, as a society, figure out a way to make it so children of color do not have negative perceptions of themselves. Also, we must ensure white children don’t have negative perception of others. With things like the Dove ad we watched in class today, or just the overall representation of people of color in tv shows or books, biases are placed into people's minds without them even realizing it.


I agree with your final assertion. I think that it's extremely important for media to represent people of color in a positive, wholesome, and accurate light. Recently, I've seen children's books that attempt to do this. One of them is about a Muslim child, and I assume that it contains information on Muslim traditions/culture and seeks to normalize them in the minds of young children. I think that such children's books are beneficial for both Muslim and non-Muslim children. For Muslim children, the book strengthens their confidence and identity; it also exposes other children to other cultures. Nevertheless, I think that it would be very difficult to combat the racial preference that children develop in response to their largely homogenous environments. For example, if a white children has white parents who have mostly white friends, the child will ultimately become biased towards white people (at least according to Bloom's study, which says that we favor our own kind). Do you have any particular ideas for alleviating prejudice on this level?

That is a really great point you bring up. Like you said, it is not purposeful that we grow up in these homogenous environments, but rather natural. The point you brought up about Bloom's study on how we favor our own kind perfectly reflects this. I think that there is no specific way really to combat these natural homogeneous environments (white parents being friends with white parents and children having a bias towards white people). Rather, we should focus on ways outside of one's "natural" environment to spread diversity and acknowledgement of each others differences. Like you said, books about different religions or cultures are useful in helping to diversify a child's perspective. I think ultimately, it's about representation of differences in a positive light that will shape children to be less prejudice.

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