posts 16 - 29 of 29
penguinsintherain
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 6

Innate or Learned?

70 years later Anderson Cooper’s study received similar results as Kenneth and Mamie Clark’s 1940 study, despite years of difference and a black president in office for the first time ever. Both of these experiments exposed the racial biases that children have from a very young age. It was honestly disturbing to see that children at such a young age already have automatic negative or positive associations with different skin tones, as they quickly judged who was nice or who was smart without even really thinking.


I believe that while judging difference is innate, learning to discriminate against others is learned behavior. We are not born automatically associating certain differences with positive or negative, whether that be race or skin tone or something on a less consequential scale. We learn these biases and how to discriminate from our environment and from what we are taught both by society and by those closer to us such as friends and family. At a young age I don’t think children can be blamed for having these biases as they (most likely) do not yet notice the consequences and it is not coming from a place of hate. However, at some point it is our responsibility to educate ourselves and attempt to work to undo some of the biases we have. Although we may not achieve a world that is entirely without discrimination, we can come close if we continue to pass down our values to future generations. If children learn from a young age to associate light skin tones with good and dark skin tones with bad, they will carry that with them into their adult lives both consciously and subconsciously which is extremely dangerous.


My IAT results were pretty much what I had expected, but I don’t think that it is always a good indicator. While the test is supposed to be done without thinking, it’s difficult to keep track of instructions, and while taking it you are also hoping for a certain result in the back of your mind. I also think our biases go beyond associating certain faces with positive and negative, although that is part of it.

Earl Grey Tea
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 10

The Way We Grow Up

Discrimination is not innate; it is something that is learned. It has been impossible for anyone here to avoid growing up in a system of white supremacy, a system that devalues black people and other minorities. In both the older Kenneth and Mamie Clark study as well as Anderson Cooper’s, the white children are more likely to favor white dolls than the black children are to favor the black dolls. The white kids have already started growing up in a system where they feel favored, while the black kids have started growing up in the same system that makes them feel unvalued and less than.


It starts off with the parents -- if the parents do anything but teach their children against the system, then the child will likely take on the same attitude, maybe indifferent and at some points uninterested as to what goes on. And even if the parents of, say, a white kid teach their kid everything they know about how to actively work against this system, that white kid may still have a natural bias towards white people since those were the people who raised him/her and the people he/she was surrounded by as a child and perhaps looked up to. That last point applies to black children as well, but black children don’t have society backing them up.


Even then, if a child manages to have decent parents, they will still be influenced, sometimes to an equal degree, by their teachers at school or their friends. I suppose nobody is born racist or ready to discriminate, but the second they come out they must survive a childhood that will likely push them in a one particular direction, no matter who they are, until they can think for themselves and choose to eradicate whatever bias was planted in them as a child.


I think it’s definitely possible to undo discrimination, but like anything else it should start with the individual. If an individual comes out of their childhood realizing the things they might have picked up as a child, they should take advantage of that knowledge and be willing to undo and relearn some things -- I think since it’s hard to grow up without it, this is ultimately the most effective solution, and hopefully we’ll heal as generations pass. I’ve found that often an effective way to fix your own bias is by having conversations with people who are very unlike you and being one hundred percent willing to get uncomfortable.


One thing I found interesting from the original study was that “only at the seven year level do the same number of children indicate a preference for the skin color of the colored doll as for that of the white doll.” This reinforces the point that white children seem to be taught from everywhere that their skin is better, while black children seem to receive a mixed message, with society teaching them differently than some people like their parents may be trying to teach them. A generalization I could make from the study is that white people grow up more self-absorbed while black people have little confidence, and neither are to blame because they’re so young.


I’ve never taken this IAT test before, but I think my results a year ago would probably look different than they do now. I sort of feel like the world as I’m understanding it at the moment is telling me not to associate “white” with “good.” I think even just within our country so many things have happened this year that made me realize the system of white supremacy is the root of many problems. My results on this test surprised me slightly, but I did anticipate that they would lean in a certain direction, given everything I’ve been taking in nonstop in the past year.


Still, I feel like the test should be taken with a grain of salt, and I’m not sure it would change people’s views much. If people want to be more aware of their implicit bias, I don’t think their results to this test would be what would drive them to do so. I feel like the main problem with the test was that whichever set you got first, you might have done better on. For example if European and good were paired together first, you may have been quicker on that set than if they were paired together right after you had African American and good paired together. Nevertheless, I think there is some truth to the test results and it definitely has the capability of being valuable for some people.


eastbostonsavingsbank
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 7

Children learn to discriminate from their parents and other family members, or the people and organizations they choose to be a part of. Most mannerisms and beliefs that will uphold throughout life, stem from your life at home and how your parents are as people, but also how they raised you and what beliefs they raised you with, like race and color based discrimination. The more children are constantly around a specific person or group of people with extreme views, the more likely it is that the child will adopt the same views. Said child will be less likely to be able to think for themselves as they grow older and as their mind develops, so these ideologies most likely will stick with them for life without them truly knowing what they mean. So the children in Cooper’s doll study who said that people with darker skin tones were uglier and stupider were uglier than people with lighter skin tones learned this behavior and belief from their homes. I believe that this behavior can be undone, and that people who had discriminatory views when they were younger can grow and realize what they believed was wrong. These ideologies and discriminatory behaviors can change with access to better and higher education, as well as surrounding yourself with people who have more open-minded views. My dad was in the army for a few years after graduating from high school, and he has said that him and practically everyone at the base has conservative views, and that their views kept feeding off of each other. After leaving the army, he went to college at BU, and graduated with not only a biology degree, but less conservative views as well. He then proceeded to get a masters degree and a PHD, and now constantly disses Trump and votes for Democratic candidates, showing that growth and change from discriminatory ways is possible.

The IAT results told me what I expected them to, that “my responses suggested no automatic preference between Dark Skinned People and Light Skinned People.” However, I don’t really think these types of tests are a good way to test unconscious bias, as pressing a key when you see a specific word or skin color on the screen doesn’t really correlate to racism. The switch of what the keys meant was definitely something to adjust to at first, and I also think that this slight confusion about what key to press after the switch doesn’t correlate to racism. Just because someone accidentally presses the wrong key when someone with darker skin or when a positive word appears on the screen doesn’t mean they’re racist, just that they clicked too fast or got confused. I don’t know if this was a common “fear” amongst others who took the test, but I was kind of scared to match the factors incorrectly because I didn’t want to be seen as racist for taking it too fast and getting a little confused. So I don’t really trust the IAT to identify implicit bias, as it is based purely on pictures and two letter keys, but I believe you can see someone’s implicit bias when you talk to them, learn their views and why they believe in them, and how they interact with others, especially people of color.

iloveikeafood
Boston , MA, US
Posts: 13

Learning from your Environment

Children learn to discriminate from the environment they are in. Discriminataion is not innate, rather learned from the things they see and hear around them. Parents have the biggest influence on young children's thoughts and views. As children grow up, they see how parents' actions are automatically influenced since they are taught their parents know what’s right and wrong. Parents can have prejudiced views that can be “passed down” to their children, but it also can just be the way they live their life. For example, if a child saw that their parents have predominantly white friends and if the child had playdates with predominantly white children, I feel that the child will obviously have a bias towards white people. Another factor into this is the shows and movies kids might watch. Now that is it 2020, there has been progress made to include a wide diversity and variety of people into all shows, but it wasn’t always like that. As a kid, all the princess movies I watched had white princesses and princes, all the shows showcased the white characters as the main characters, whereas the other POC characters were there as side characters which usually followed their corresponding stereotype and lastly, I always saw that the shows’ and movies’ couples were always paired together by race. None of these factors are directly meant to discriminate or be prejudiced, it was just the society and environment that causes children to learn discrimination.


As we know, making choices and judgments are just part of human nature, and we usually do this subconsciously. I say discrimination is not innate because children aren’t born with it and it grows into something they live with. Although, I think that everyone in the world discriminates no matter if it is meant to be negative or positive. When it’s learned it’s always going to be in the back of one’s mind. Everyone has an implicit bias, every single day we are making judgments and attaching them with adjectives or to qualities of a person without knowing. Some examples of implicit bias is seeing names and judging what “race” they fall into, or assuming a woman can’t do “manly” things, or even a teacher not having left-handed scissors. Although these examples of implicit bias do not all hold the same weight, it shows how the human mind just assumes things because of what we learned before.


While taking the exercise, I knew what they were getting at so I felt like I wanted to make sure I didn’t mess up or go slower or faster so they wouldn’t tell me I have bias. The IAT results told me that I have no preference towards white people or black people, which I thought was the case before taking the test. I felt almost pressured to do well because I didn’t want them to tell me I had a bias towards one or the other. Going in, the young children didn’t have any precaution or reason to lie about what they thought, whereas in our situation we knew what the test was about and what it would tell us. From then on, the results can be flawed since people may try to delay times to try and make it seem like they don’t have a bias towards one side or even mess up on purpose. I liked the exercise and thought it was a decent procedure because there was a correlation to the process and result. Although, I think that the test can get very tiring very fast and it’s hard to focus at times because there is no variation and also the directions changed in between making some people do worse in the second half.

greenbeans
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 6

we were taught to hate

In a world where there exists people of stark contrasts, and opposite cultures, it is appalling that there is a “beauty standard.” This beauty standard has always been heavily associated with the West and European features. Because of this, it is very common for Asian countries like China, Japan, and South Korea to establish these same standards within their society, despite white people being a rarity within those places. I can only deduce, from this particular observation, that discrimination is taught.

Children learn how to discriminate from the environment they are raised in. Whether it be their parents’ political views, religious status, etc., their children absorb the same thoughts—just as they would with language. From Cooper’s piece for CNN, I noticed that the overarching theme was that darker skin was considered undesirable from both black and white children. This same pattern could be observed within the Clarks’ Doll Test, which took place 80 years ago. The entire premise of the Doll Test was to show the detrimental effects of the Segregation Era on black youth. As racism and discrimination have been carried on through the years—still alive and well in 2020—I have no doubt that the impacts of the Segregation Era are still grazing our children’s minds. For one, some people from that time period are still alive today. Those people have had more than enough time to impact the environment around them with their hateful views toward black people. So, the cycle of discrimination persists.

Although racism and discrimination are taught, I doubt they can be untaught. These kids aren’t learning how to conjugate Latin verbs or find derivatives; they are learning how to hate themselves, their ancestors, and the people who look like them. This mindset evokes deep-rooted insecurities, which many people still suffer from over the course of their lives. And even though I don’t think that discrimination can be untaught, I do think that it can be outgrown. You can’t convince someone to eject years of their internalized racism; they must figure it out for themselves. Self-love trumps external hatred, which I have begun to see often within social media. I see many black women embracing their natural curly hair nowadays rather than straightening it to please European standards. This is a type of inner growth that one learns for themselves. So although discrimination and hatred are never “untaught,” that does not mean that those negative emotions and stigmas cannot be outpaced.

As for my personal IAT results, I have a preference for lighter-skinned people. I was slightly expecting that result, as my culture/older family members foster that very mindset. And although I am trying to become less biased, those are ultimately my results. I do, however, feel as if this test is not 100% foolproof. There were many changing variables, and I found myself getting mixed up between the images of the people. I had a bit of trouble discerning which photos were considered black/white. But, this test did offer me a good basis of insight to work upon. As a person of color, I have struggled with my own self-image for a very long time. I rejected my culture/ancestry, and tried so badly to be white (clearly, according to my IAT results, that inner hatred has yet to be fully resolved. And I project those insecurities onto other people through implicit associations). Thus, I heavily relate to @dennis12 regarding representation in Disney princesses/wanting to be blonde and skinny. I remember as a child, I would make my video game avatar a blonde-haired girl with bright blue eyes. That was the exact opposite of how I looked, but that was what I, and society, considered the epitome of beautiful. That mindset has shifted overtime, but the fact that I even thought that way in the first place is really upsetting. Fast-forward a few years later, this past September I watched Mulan for the first time in my life. I didn’t think I would be amazed by the movie, as I am not the biggest Disney fan, but seeing a Disney princess who looked a lot like me was empowering. It made me feel confident in myself, seeing a fellow Asian girl take on the role of a strong soldier. I can only hope that more children nowadays can feel that same sense of happiness on a daily basis, but there is a lot of work that needs to be done.

iloveikeafood
Boston , MA, US
Posts: 13

Reply to @Dennis12

Originally posted by dennis12 on November 17, 2020 18:02


After watching the videos of the Doll Experiment, I was so upset by the children's responses because it shows how their environment shapes their views especially when they are young and unable to form their own opinions. Since children are brutally honest, they gave the answers they were thinking instead of worrying about what they were saying was discriminating because they do not understand that yet. It is very eye opening to see how their environments truly affect them and how either their parents, family members or friends influence them and also how they are influenced by tv shows/characters/toys. It was so upsetting to see the white children pick the black children to be the “ugly” or “dumb” children, and especially when they said the black child was the child that “most adults would not like”. It is a wake up call to myself and society that we must do better about stereotypes and the norms of society with race, beauty, and gender.

I definitely agree with what you said, it was sad seeing the responses that the young children gave. I was so sad seeing the young black children speaking so low of themselves, but I know that is a product of out society and how society presents them. To add to that point, it just hurt seeing the young black girl saying "adults wouldn't like people with my skin color" and how her skin was "nasty looking". It was not only eye-opening to see how white children reacted, but also the way the young black children reacted. It really shows how society impacts the way children view themselves and their peers, and it is to a point where young black children do not view themselves as beautiful or smart, which is terrible.

the negotiator
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 10

Children Reflective of Society's Biases

The results of Andersen Cooper’s 2010 experiment and Kenneth and Mamie Clark’s 1940-41 doll study were eerily similar. This raises the question, have our views and teaching of discrimination really changed all that much in the 70 year time span? How much have we actually improved on this issue?


I believe that children are not naturally born with the idea of discrimination; however, I do believe that it is learned at a very young age. Discrimination, of all types, surrounds us all. Whether it be selecting your favorite toy for particular reasons, or something much more serious such as seeing discrimination between people based on different social constructs.


Because of this, children learn to discriminate from a young age, but it is sad that they aren’t being told what is okay to discriminate between and what is not. This knowledge about discrimination from such a young age effectively makes it innate, because children are immediately exposed to discrimination when they are born. What matters is what they are taught from there on by their parents and trusted individuals about what is okay and what isn’t.


A child’s views on discrimination are shaped almost completely by what they are taught by their parents about what is right. Children have nothing else to go off of, so they base their own views on what they have been told by those whom they trust (i.e. their parents). I feel that over time, as someone gets older, they are able to unlearn discrimination in areas where it shouldn’t exist, such as between races.


Based on the results of both experiments, it is clear that a majority of society prefers lighter skin tones, and associates them with good things, whereas they associate the darker skin tones with bad things. I feel that it was very important that this experiment was done on children, because they don’t know any better, and they are a reflection of what their parents and the older members of society really think, but may be unwilling to say or admit to. Young children have less of a filter but they perfectly reflect the biases of their parents as well as society as a whole.


Older individuals are less likely to admit to their own biases about discrimination, which is why the children are a great way to get a view of where society is at with this issue.


One way that we used to test for our own implicit biases was the IAT tests. Before taking the test, I believed that my results would be that I had no biases about certain races when comparing them to bad things and good things. When I got my results back, I was not surprised. It stated that I had no bias between African-Americans and European-Americans. One flaw that I found with this test though was all of the changing of controls. Oftentimes the new controls had more of my attention on trying to get used to them than the actual experiment, so I ended up making mistakes on both sides of the test due to the switching of controls. In the end though, the errors from both sides evened each other out. Overall, I felt that this was a decent way to test for implicit biases, but it definitely wasn’t perfect.

redlavazibra
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 4

We aren't born bias

Nobody is born with bias or hate; it is something that you develop and learn. I think children are a product of their surroundings and your environment directly affects your views. In the Doll experiment, most of the kids associated darker skin with bad traits and lighter skin with good traits. Part of it could be their parents because kids pick up what adults say very easily and also the representation they see on TV. Growing up, I remember only seeing white characters in most of my favorite movies and shows, which makes you associate white with good or "fun." The lack of POC representation gives unfamiliarity and bias towards them. I think bias can both be learned and unlearned by becoming more educated. I specifically remember two kids in the experiment who said that all skin colors are the same and they would equally want to be friends with any of them, which is something they were probably taught. No matter what skin color, we are all human. I agree with anonymouse in that society teaches you that lighter skin is than darker more beautiful especially from a very young age. Eurocentric beauty standards lead to internalized hate towards how a POC views themselves, which I know I've experienced myself.


The IAT test was definitely interesting to take but I don't think it is completely accurate on where you stand because I think it has to do with focus and it gets really stressful. It is really easy to confuse and mix up words, but I think it does show a layer of how bias you might be.

vintage.garfield
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 7

Discrimination In Children

Children learn to discriminate through socialization and the environment that surrounds them. Everything that surrounds them has the potential to teach them to discriminate; children are curious creatures who seem to pick up on things fairly quickly. For example, a child who grows up in a bigoted household may hold racist/ sexist/ homophobic/ etc. thoughts and ideas unknowingly (from their parents saying bigoted claims or shielding their eyes when a homosexual couple appears on television), until their kindergarten teacher shows them that those ideas should not be accepted.


Whether it is innate or not, I’m not entirely sure because human beings begin learning from the moment they arrive into the world, but I believe that it could be innate because it makes sense for me to be able to distinguish things throughout my life from each other through discrimination. I think that it is very possible for their discrimination to be undone. I have seen many instances on social media where people have shared their experiences and how they educated themselves and no longer hold racist/ sexist ideas. Personally, I used to have a lot of misogynistic ideas (pro-life, conservative clothing, etc), but thanks to an early introduction to social media, I learned that everyone is entitled to their own bodies and should be able to do whatever they want with it and as long as it doesn’t harm others it should not bother me. I now find it quite embarrassing that I used to hold those thoughts and ideas. From the Doll Experiment video, I wonder what the conditions in these children’s households are in common that have extremely colorist/ racist results. It’s sad how so many stereotypes are so commonly accepted in our society that makes children (and even adults) think that is okay to believe in.


While the IAT results gave me a somewhat understanding of my unconscious bias, I wish it were more in depth and had a variety of different questions so that the results could be more accurate because for the Skin-Tone assessment, I kept mixing up the skin colors and which skin color was on which button (even before the good or bad adjectives were taken into account). Even then, I think that it is a pretty good exercise because generally, I don’t think people would want to say that they were racist/ bigoted. A test like this that required full attention and speed would help gain some insight on a person’s unconscious bias due to the test takers having to react quickly without the ability to go “Wait, that’s kind of racist.” However, maybe more questions that subtly ask about race/ color (like whether someone thinks that racial inequality exists or whether they think that certain policies should be changed) would result with more accuracy.

sizzles
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 8

Dominated by the Media

Originally posted by the negotiator on November 17, 2020 23:49

The results of Andersen Cooper’s 2010 experiment and Kenneth and Mamie Clark’s 1940-41 doll study were eerily similar. This raises the question, have our views and teaching of discrimination really changed all that much in the 70 year time span? How much have we actually improved on this issue?


I believe that children are not naturally born with the idea of discrimination; however, I do believe that it is learned at a very young age. Discrimination, of all types, surrounds us all. Whether it be selecting your favorite toy for particular reasons, or something much more serious such as seeing discrimination between people based on different social constructs.


Because of this, children learn to discriminate from a young age, but it is sad that they aren’t being told what is okay to discriminate between and what is not. This knowledge about discrimination from such a young age effectively makes it innate, because children are immediately exposed to discrimination when they are born. What matters is what they are taught from there on by their parents and trusted individuals about what is okay and what isn’t.


A child’s views on discrimination are shaped almost completely by what they are taught by their parents about what is right. Children have nothing else to go off of, so they base their own views on what they have been told by those whom they trust (i.e. their parents). I feel that over time, as someone gets older, they are able to unlearn discrimination in areas where it shouldn’t exist, such as between races.


Based on the results of both experiments, it is clear that a majority of society prefers lighter skin tones, and associates them with good things, whereas they associate the darker skin tones with bad things. I feel that it was very important that this experiment was done on children, because they don’t know any better, and they are a reflection of what their parents and the older members of society really think, but may be unwilling to say or admit to. Young children have less of a filter but they perfectly reflect the biases of their parents as well as society as a whole.


Older individuals are less likely to admit to their own biases about discrimination, which is why the children are a great way to get a view of where society is at with this issue.


One way that we used to test for our own implicit biases was the IAT tests. Before taking the test, I believed that my results would be that I had no biases about certain races when comparing them to bad things and good things. When I got my results back, I was not surprised. It stated that I had no bias between African-Americans and European-Americans. One flaw that I found with this test though was all of the changing of controls. Oftentimes the new controls had more of my attention on trying to get used to them than the actual experiment, so I ended up making mistakes on both sides of the test due to the switching of controls. In the end though, the errors from both sides evened each other out. Overall, I felt that this was a decent way to test for implicit biases, but it definitely wasn’t perfect.

I agree with @the negotiator. Many adults will try to conceal the fact that they are racist, so kids were great test subjects. No one is naturally born racist, this trait is intentionally cultivated by our media. When you hop on the Google app in your phone, most of the time all the ''breaking news'' stories are centered around White people. TikTok spokespersons have stated that the app's algorithm is only focused on buoying up creators who fit the traditional standard of attractiveness, so this is why household names such as Charlie D'Amelio have risen to the top. The standard is based on exclusion, and young BIPOC kids/teens are disrespected. Then, when Black and Brown kids do get representation, it is usually within the traditional tropes (working class, limited opportunities, dangerous neighborhood, etc), causing them to feel a bit of ''racial dysphoria'' if you will, or simply erased.

According to the IAT test, I have no preference towards Black or White people. I believe this is accurate, but the test is poorly crafted. A test taker who is tired or has ADHD could have screwed up their results. In addition, we all have bias in the way we see things, simply because we have to interact with the world differently (depending on our unique identities).

bskittles
Charlestown, MA
Posts: 6

Adults influence on children's racism

When I was watching the Clarks' study I could see that some of the children felt uncomfortable in their answers but they still answered the question I think that it is because they didn't realize that there was an option to just not answer. The children also thought that adults preferred lighter skin tones and the test was being administered by adults. I think that the children did not want to upset the adults that were administering the test or get the answers "wrong." You could see this especially in the younger kids, they were not very confident in their answer but eventually chose the answer that they thought adults would like. I think that prejudices are ingrained in us by the adults around us and the media we consumed as children. Children mimic the behaviors of adults and they can see that adults treat people with darker skin tones worse than people with lighter skin tones. I don't think that we are born with prejudices. Children pick up on behaviors of those around them since they are born. Adults like to believe that we are less racist than we actually are. Adults think that if they are not bigoted or not overtly racist that their children will not be racist but racism is much more nuanced than that. Because we don't even recognize some of our behaviors as racist so when we pass them onto children it is easy to wonder who taught you that? or assume that the child was born with that prejudice. I think that racism is a learned behavior and it can be undone. I know from personal experience. I had to work on my implicit biases and unlearn the mindset taught to me growing up. I think a lot of people can relate to that.

When I was taking the implicit biases test I was so worried about messing up and "proving" that I am not racist. I already knew how the test worked so I don't think that I was able to be very honest in my answers. I think that if you know how the test works you can "cheat" it by purposely mixing up the answers or taking longer to answer to get whichever outcome you want. I do think the test holds some value. I have taken it in the past and gotten moderate/ slight automatic preference for European Americans. This time I got no automatic preference. I'd like to think that I have grown as a person and become more aware of my implicit biases and that is what those results are saying. I think that if you go into the test with an open mind and not worried about your results then the results will be more valuable.

Lobster9
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 8

IAT and Doll Study

The tests done by Kenneth and Mamie Clark have similar results to the test done by Anderson Cooper. Both tests found that lighter skin colors were preferred over darker ones. Children in these tests were very young so it is interesting that they have already developed a bias. I do not think discrimination is innate, I think that it is learned from a childs parents. When kids are little they copy their parents, but because they are still kids they are brutally honest. Parents may hide their bias from the outside world, but when their kids are asked the same questions they answer truthfully because they do not understand the repercussions their answers may lead to. Even if parents dont mean to teach their children discrimination I think that it will still happen. Parents might not notice discriminatory remarks or actions that they make daily, but their young children will remember and mimic those same discriminatory actions. I do not think that children are born with an innate knowledge of anything. What children learn at a young age is a direct reflection of their environment. If there are two little children from two different households they could have totally different viewpoints, it all just depends on what their parents are teaching them and what type of environment they grow up in. Children who are used to only playing with other children that look like them might develop a bias against children who are different from what they are used to. I do think that some bias learning can be undone but it must happen at a young age. If a child goes their years and years only interacting with people of the same skin color they might develop a bias, but if that same child experiences diversity from a young age by interacting with people from different backgrounds than their own I think that child will grow up with less bias because they are familiar with different groups of people. Another way that a young child can benefit from diversity is by creating their own experiences. A child's parents might have a strong bias against a certain group, but if their young child becomes friends with a child from that group they will be able to have their own experiences with the group their parents are biased against and can make their own opinion.


The IAT test results were expected. Before taking the test I thought to myself about racial preferences and concluded that I did not have any. After taking the test I received the same results. Since I was little I have been surrounded by many different cultures and races so I think that had a major impact on my results. I've always been taught and have my own experiences to know that judging someone based on their race or background is not a good way to determine character. I think that the test was an ok way to show racial preference. The fast pace of the test could have made it difficult for some people who need more time to answer simple questions or make a correlation between good and bad. I think that the results from the test are valid but they can not be the end all be all in determining someone's racial preferences.


pizza
Posts: 9

What are the Roots to the Problem?

Even after 70 years, the similarities between Cooper's research (two years after the first black elected president) and Kenneth and Mamie Clark’s research were pretty prevalent. Starting such a young age, a lot of these kids who participated in the research can easily identify the negative and positive connotations of skin colors in the United States.


If we were talking about Cooper’s research, I think kids were influenced by society back in the 1950s. A lot of times, we say, “times were different back then” really reflect the filters people had in different time periods. Obviously, I was not alive during this time, but MLK Jr. hasn’t even given his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech yet, so I can just make an assumption times was tough for black children back then. Children notice the differences between how people treat each other and they can easily tell that the darker their skin tone is, the harder life will be for them.


Transitioning back to present day, I think children do not naturally have the instinct to discriminate against one another for the complexion of their skin, but something they have to learn or observe in order to bring that into their own lives. In school, children are always taught to treat one another how you want to be treated, but I feel like teachers/schools use this to just degrade a lot of negative misconceptions that children are bringing back from home. A big important influence is from home and the people they are around from the beginning of birth. Naturally, the way the adults/important figures back at homes perceive certain things will influence the way children's thinkings. We can tell from the research that children can pick up these perceptions from society pretty quickly because they want to be happy and playful, but once something negative happens/comes along, they will immediately remember for life. Even though schools/tv shows are progressing to show equality and just little skits to make children less judgemental, the little things like lack of representation can be pretty hard for them to relate to. I still remember when I was little, all tv shows and Disney movies had just white figures as the main characters, and when they do include other races, they are often supporting roles, or oftentimes perceived in a negative way. It's really disappointment when children are not able to see themselves on the media they watch which can play into the beauty standards they might hold for themselves or just how unwelcome they might feel in a new place. Especially as we are heading towards a more bigger influence of technology in our daily lives, social media and the people who are more likely to be seen as "beautiful" is pretty impactful with just the scrolling through one's feed.


The IAT can be a good way when you are really focused and read the directions really clearly. I think I still have mixed feelings about it since mine showed the most in favor for white people, but I’m not sure how well that REALLY reflects in my own daily life. In class, we talked about how we were really focused on trying to get the right answers on the IAT that might have played a role in our results because we want to see the best versions of ourselves. I think the IAT was really helpful for me, personally, to be more mindful of the actions I take and the first thoughts I would have on people. The general idea of the test makes sense for associations based on how society is nowadays even when we had a black president, but I think the test can be updated with more questions more relevant now. While my results were not the most ideal for me (maybe it was just my unconscious bias or just the lack of understanding while taking the test), it definitely raises the awareness of how we should be acting vs. how we really are acting towards one another.

mdooley2
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 3

Implicit Association

Discrimination can be defined as “the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex”. We have been taught by our schools, parents, and morals that discrimation is wrong and makes no logical sense, but then where does it come from and why does it exist. I would argue that it is learned behavior through our society and our surroundings.

The video we watched during class was a heartbreaking example of racial discrimination in children, who have not yet been told that it is wrong and illogical. We know that children take in the world around them faster than adults and that they are very impressionable. The comparison of children’s mind to a sponge is often used in that they soak up everything around them and apply it into their knowledge of right from wrong and how to be a person in the world. With this knowledge, it is understandable why when asked who the smartest child is, a great deal of children pick the child with the fairest skin and when asked the opposite most children pick the child with the darkest skin color. When asked which child adults think are the prettiest or smartest a great majority picked the white childas well and when asked the opposite they picked the black child. Even a 6 year old black girl exhibited racial bias and said that she views darker colored skin as less beautiful and desirable. With this girl and many more like her as examples, it is evident that the argument that we have an innate belief that those who don’t look like us are less because even darker skin children are taught to believe that those with darker skin are less. The lack of representation of those with darker skin in the media and society could however be to blame for this. When looking at the main characters of tv shows or disney princesses and seeing very few black characters, children may obtain the thought that beauty and intelligence is aligned with what they see and therefore the opposite is aligned with what they don’t see, which happens to be those who are not white.

If we want to change this idea of bias and discrimination being implanted in us at young ages, we need to increase positive representation of other races in our society and to be aware of it so that we can being the changes at a personal level. I thought the Implicit Association Test we took was a great way to start. This test, although it may have some problems and may not be entirely accurate, is a great way to show that even though you don’t necessarily mean to, you may have some type of preference and association to one race or group of people over another. This test lets you know that even though you may not even think you have those vies, they are often still embedded in you and if you are made aware of them, you can begin to retrain your mind into not having that bias.

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