Due: Tuesday, November 17, 2020 at 8:00 am (sections 01 and 04)
Wednesday, November 18 at 8:00 am (sections 02 and 03)
Reading: Kenneth and Mamie Clark, "Racial Identification and Preference in Negro Children," 1950 (You will need to download this) faculty.ucc.edu/psysoc-stokes/ClarkDollExperiment.pdf
As we saw with the children in Anderson Cooper’s piece for CNN on skin color preferences [see below for the links, in case you missed class], 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 the 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.
You read Paul Bloom’s “Moral Life of Babies” for class on Thursday/Friday. No doubt that gave you some insight into what we are born with vs. what we learn. But how do we explain how those children responded in the Anderson Cooper 2010 recreation of the Kenneth + Mamie Clark 1940-1941 research? After all, as Cooper remarks, he is conducting this two years after the United States elected its first mixed race president!
And you all took the Implicit Association Test (IAT). Irrespective of which test you took, you received some kind of score by the end. What did the test reveal?
In other words—and here’s two big questions for you to ponder:
(1)Where/how do children learn to discriminate? Is it innate? Is it learned? Is it a combination of the two? And whether it’s innate, learned, or both, can it be undone? When you reflect on this, give some concrete examples or anecdotes, if they support your views.
(2)And, while you are not young children, you are closer to your childhood than your old age! What did the IAT results tell you? Do you think they are a good way to assess the associations you make (aka—your unconscious bias)? Tell us why you find this a valuable exercise—or not—and why.
For any of you who either missed class or want to re-view the clips we watched:
Anderson Cooper/CNN recreation of the doll study: