posts 1 - 15 of 28
freemanjud
Boston, US
Posts: 154


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:

Part 1:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYCz1ppTjiM [5:27]

Part 2:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQACkg5i4AY [5:18]

239bid0073
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 9

Parents and Society

I think first to answer this question we need to go back and look at the LTQ from last week. We discussed, and deciphered choice, and what goes into making choices, and how that affects everything else. One adjustment that I want to add to my claim from last week is that our parents, and society have an effect on the choices we make, and I can see this from the Anderson Cooper experiment. These young students were asked to make a choice on which kid was the smartest, the best, and the most liked. The results were overwhelmingly the white cartoon kid. So the question is where do children learn this? Where do they learn to make a choice like this?

If we follow this process through the lens of choice making, I think we can decipher it a bit better. As was learned last week, that a choice starts with discrimination. Here in the pictures that the children saw, the only thing that differentiate the cartoon kids was their skin color. So knowing this the children we asked to make a choice off of the kids skin color. Then judgement came in. And they have to judge the better person, smarter person, or more liked person off of skin color. Their judgement I believe is a reflection of their families and societies. What they pick up and understand from those closest to them is what went into this judgement that they made. Then they made the choice.

I don’t think anyone is born with innate ability to discriminate and judge race. I think as humans we have the ability to judge for our survival things such as food, water, safety. But, race is not one of them. So this means that it is all learned from a young age. And the fact that these were 5-6 year old kids who were all making this decision shows just how vulnerable our minds are at such a young age. Without knowing anything else or anything better at such a young age, the first thing we hear is imprinted, and almost a moral for our young minds. This doesn’t make it any more right and not concerning that the children said this. If anything it is way more concerning but, I think it gives reason. And the first step to solving problems is finding the reason to fix it.

The experiment that we did was the Implicit Association Test. This test is done in order to test those thoughts and feelings that are outside our conscious awareness and control. The results of this test revealed an implicit attitude to me that I didn’t know I had. To me this means those judgements that society has instilled in us. I think both the Anderson Cooper experiment as well as this IAT is a reflection of the society that we live in today and how it has developed over the years.

While these were both well done experiments and tests, everything is flawed, and can be questioned. One thing that came to mind when I was reviewing the Anderson Cooper experiment was what would happen if the kids were given a choice of “neither”. Meaning that no one was better than the next person. Would the kids pick that because they thought it might be right, or would they have stuck with the same answers? Do they know any better? Do they know what they were really saying, or were they simply repeating what they have heard? Secondly, in the IAT I thought that there were too many factors that could be changing to actually call it a realy experiment or use it for hard core data. First, some people are just bad typers. Like, I am. I am not quick, and I don’t know where all of the keys are. This could have greatly affected my score. Secondly there is so much to focus on. If you are not 100% focused and in tune with what you are doing, there is a good chance you could make an unintentional mistake. While it is great to have some sort of data to help form these claims I think we have to be very careful about how much of the data we actually use.

crunchysnowball
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 9

Nature vs Nurture

The ability to discriminate can have two meanings: to be able to recognize distinction or to make unjust distinctions in treatment. All babies have the innate ability to do the first definition, but have to learn the latter. I actually took a class on the developmental psychology of babies over the summer at MIT and to make this short, babies do innately start to develop something called “preferential looking” from ages 0 to 1. This is along the same lines as when Paul Bloom’s, The Moral Life of Babies talked about the Mickey Mouse experiment when the babies exhibited surprise if the curtain revealed something unexpected. Thus, since the babies were able to show surprise, it means that they can differentiate between what is expected and unexpected. The point at which the two discrimination definitions diverge is based off of the babies’ environment and upbringing. In the Clark Doll experiment, we can see that there are some small differences between the pool of children from the North and the South. There was a larger percentage of Northern children who preferred to play with the white doll over the black doll. This is partly due to the difference in the number of children that were pulled from each region of the US, but I think that the environment of the two regions does play a role. There were a lot more schools in the North at the time, so the black children could have been associating white children with education and internalizing that more in their preferences. Children spend a majority of their time in school, so the atmosphere of that definitely influences the way that they think of the world and of themselves.

A child’s home life obviously also has a strong impact as well. I think that a lot of families in today’s age teach their children that everyone is equal and that you should treat everyone the same. However I do not entirely agree with that. To tell your child that everyone is equal, teaches them to have a more colorblind approach to life. That can be dangerous in the sense that once they do learn the reality of what our society is actually like in regards to race, they may not want to recognize that they do or do not hold privilege compared to other groups. Especially in the US, we tend to avoid teaching our children about race, assuming that they will be able to understand it better when they are older. But, the ideals that children have about race tend to remain unchanged as they age. The only way to eliminate this form of discrimination is to start at the root and educate from a young age the true reality of race in America, glossing over it will only perpetuate racism further.

When I took the IAT, I was fairly proud of my results, I did not exhibit preference to either race. However, while taking the test, I did get a few of the questions incorrect. I think this could be because of my struggle with switching my associations with the particular buttons that needed to be pressed during each part of the test. For the most part, I think that this test is a good place to start in terms of recognizing how severe or not severe your implicit bias is, since it taps into your unconscious reactions to things. But on the other hand, I do think that there can be some faults in that it may be more difficult for some people to switch their hand eye coordination. That being said, the difficulty that people experience in switching their associations could just be a product of the unconscious biases that they do already have. Undeniably, I don’t think that there is a fool proof and completely accurate way to measure someone's implicit bias, but this test certainly is a way to start. If we can recognize and assess ourselves, it will better alleviate and subdue whatever predetermined ideas we already have embedded into us.

razzledazzle8
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 15

Do you think there is world with no discrimination?

I believe children learn to discriminate from many different places. First is from their parents; parents teach their children mostly everything in life and until a certain age we think our parents are always right. Children grow up learning what is right and wrong but the people telling them what is right and wrong. Adults' thoughts of right and wrong are not always correct and sometimes kids are taught the wrong things. For example, if a parent said a certain race was bad then their 4 year old child would believe it because they have no other evidence to think differently and always would believe their parents before anyone else. Second children learn discrimination from pop culture and the media. While we were growing up there weren’t many POC’s to look up to so that in many ways could develop discrimination. Kids sometimes didn’t have superheroes or dolls to have growing up and that really shows how racist that is in it of itself. Children sometimes aren’t even exposed to the other race in TV or movies because their parents don’t expose them to it. One example of the media influencing children is the Central Park Five. The media villainized these CHILDREN with no evidence. They terrorized their lives just because they were in Central Park at the same time this happened. Donald Trump even called for the execution of the Central Park Five. So many children may have seen this on the news and believed what they were saying.

Also children do not have filters like adults and young adults do so we learn how discriminatory things are around them. For example, in the video with Anderson Cooper, children simply chose the other race because they were black or they were like. One question was “What child would parents not like?” and some pointed to the darker skinned child and when asked why they said, “Because they are black”. Just that question shows how children are influenced by the media and their parents.

I definitely believe that discrimination is learned but do not think it is innate. I don’t think someone can be born immediately with hate against other people. I do somewhat believe it can be unlearned but it will definitely take time. Our brains are hardwired to discriminate because that is just what we have learned so we need to fight against it. We need to start fighting against the norm and reconfigure the media and pop culture and the way we live.

Like 239bid0073 said “Secondly, in the IAT I thought that there were too many factors that could be changing to actually call it a realy experiment or use it for hard core data. First, some people are just bad typers. Like, I am. I am not quick, and I don’t know where all of the keys are. This could have greatly affected my score. Secondly there is so much to focus on. If you are not 100% focused and in tune with what you are doing, there is a good chance you could make an unintentional mistake.” I didn’t really like the test because I’m not a very good typer like said before and tend to panic in timed situations. I’m not very good at fully concentrating on one thing at a time so this test was really not for me but it could definitely work for others.

razzledazzle8
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 15

Originally posted by 239bid0073 on November 16, 2020 09:53

I think first to answer this question we need to go back and look at the LTQ from last week. We discussed, and deciphered choice, and what goes into making choices, and how that affects everything else. One adjustment that I want to add to my claim from last week is that our parents, and society have an effect on the choices we make, and I can see this from the Anderson Cooper experiment. These young students were asked to make a choice on which kid was the smartest, the best, and the most liked. The results were overwhelmingly the white cartoon kid. So the question is where do children learn this? Where do they learn to make a choice like this?

If we follow this process through the lens of choice making, I think we can decipher it a bit better. As was learned last week, that a choice starts with discrimination. Here in the pictures that the children saw, the only thing that differentiate the cartoon kids was their skin color. So knowing this the children we asked to make a choice off of the kids skin color. Then judgement came in. And they have to judge the better person, smarter person, or more liked person off of skin color. Their judgement I believe is a reflection of their families and societies. What they pick up and understand from those closest to them is what went into this judgement that they made. Then they made the choice.

I don’t think anyone is born with innate ability to discriminate and judge race. I think as humans we have the ability to judge for our survival things such as food, water, safety. But, race is not one of them. So this means that it is all learned from a young age. And the fact that these were 5-6 year old kids who were all making this decision shows just how vulnerable our minds are at such a young age. Without knowing anything else or anything better at such a young age, the first thing we hear is imprinted, and almost a moral for our young minds. This doesn’t make it any more right and not concerning that the children said this. If anything it is way more concerning but, I think it gives reason. And the first step to solving problems is finding the reason to fix it.

The experiment that we did was the Implicit Association Test. This test is done in order to test those thoughts and feelings that are outside our conscious awareness and control. The results of this test revealed an implicit attitude to me that I didn’t know I had. To me this means those judgements that society has instilled in us. I think both the Anderson Cooper experiment as well as this IAT is a reflection of the society that we live in today and how it has developed over the years.

While these were both well done experiments and tests, everything is flawed, and can be questioned. One thing that came to mind when I was reviewing the Anderson Cooper experiment was what would happen if the kids were given a choice of “neither”. Meaning that no one was better than the next person. Would the kids pick that because they thought it might be right, or would they have stuck with the same answers? Do they know any better? Do they know what they were really saying, or were they simply repeating what they have heard? Secondly, in the IAT I thought that there were too many factors that could be changing to actually call it a realy experiment or use it for hard core data. First, some people are just bad typers. Like, I am. I am not quick, and I don’t know where all of the keys are. This could have greatly affected my score. Secondly there is so much to focus on. If you are not 100% focused and in tune with what you are doing, there is a good chance you could make an unintentional mistake. While it is great to have some sort of data to help form these claims I think we have to be very careful about how much of the data we actually use.

I definitely agree with you when you said, "I don’t think anyone is born with innate ability to discriminate and judge race. I think as humans we have the ability to judge for our survival things such as food, water, safety. But, race is not one of them. So this means that it is all learned from a young age. And the fact that these were 5-6 year old kids who were all making this decision shows just how vulnerable our minds are at such a young age. Without knowing anything else or anything better at such a young age, the first thing we hear is imprinted, and almost a moral for our young minds." I do think we are born with the ability to judge but I believe discrimination is very different. We have to have these survival skills like you said but race isn't in that category. We have to learn how to discriminate or else we would never know what it is. When you are born I think everyone would treat everyone equally if not taught differently.

finn2510
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 11

How do Children Inherit Bias?

A critical part of the early years of a child’s life is the different traits they develop. We all know that babies/toddlers learn to talk from seeing their parents and others around them doing the same, but is this the only example of this? Does this Monkey See Monkey Do belief spread further than just language skills? After researching more on this theory, I learned that at 6 months old, baby’s can begin to notice race-based differences, by ages 2 to 4, children can begin to internalize racial bias, and by age 12 these beliefs can become cemented in their mind. These events develop directly in front of the parent or guardian, which reiterates the impact they can have on the development of their child’s bias.

However, their parents are not the only factor that plays into the child’s ideologies, the environment and society they live in can have a great impact as well. A study I found that was similar to the Implicit Association Test (IAT) we took last week was performed by Dr. Walter Gilliam. In the observation, Dr. Gilliam asked early childhood teachers to detect when they saw a behavior that could potentially become challenging in a classroom setting, when in reality he was determining the teachers' implicit bias. His findings showed that the teachers spent more time looking at the black children than the white children. Though it seems absurd to use a child’s ability to disrupt a classroom to determine one’s implicit bias, it still proves how these unconscious ideas are held. Also, given the considerable impact a teacher has on a student, it points to how these ideas can be passed on at a young age.

I think that the discriminatory views a child has on the surface can be altered or undone, but they are left with a racial bias, whether that be conscious or unconscious. A topic that has been discussed a sizable amount this year is implicit bias and how those views affect a person’s character. Though it is not the most obvious form of racism, it is one of the most lethal.

Before class on Thursday, I had heard of the IAT, but had never taken it. Given that it was coming from Harvard, I had high expectations, but ultimately I believe they did as well as they could. Given that there are so many possible components that could lead to faulty results, I don’t think that a test like this could lead to 100% accuracy. I agree with what 239bid0073 said about the test, specifically their views on the focus aspect. Several rounds of the test required the participant to press two keys, one that was meant for white people and positive attributes and another for black people and negative attributes. After a few rounds, the keys were switched and the images of white people became associated with negative descriptions and images of black people with positive descriptions. Considering we took the test first period and I was tired, I don’t believe I did the best I possibly could in these areas, which resulted in my score being adjusted.

alberic25
boston, massachusetts, US
Posts: 10

Children and Discrimination

A child learns almost everything they know from the people and things around them. No one is born with ideas against anyone, however these ideas are implanted in their head by people around them. Even if these ideas of discrimination aren’t directly said to children, they are hinted at in so many aspects of their lives. A child bases their life off of things they see around them. For example when they watch television; if they see a white girl with blonde hair and blue eyes and see how others call her beautiful they will agree. However, there is less portrayal of beautiful black women in television. This can result in the false idea that a white girl is prettier than a black girl. Children listen to things they trust. They trust television because they think it is an accurate portrayal of life. They also trust their friends and family. People may exhibit a different attitude towards different races and this imprints on a child. A parent doesn’t have to come out and straight up tell a child that a certain race is bad inorder to teach their children to discriminate. It can be subtle and simple acts that a parent might do that a child notices and copies. The world is full of discrimination and it is almost unavoidable. Even if a parent teaches their children to go against discrimination they are still aware of it and therefore it is still in their minds. As a child grows up they begin to form their own opinions however everything they see and are taught still stay in the back of their heads. Despite this, I think that one can overcome their discrimination. Through experience one can learn that discrimination isn’t right and the things they learn and see around them aren’t always true. It is very important for someone to be able to form their own opinions through their own experience and information they gather. However, I don’t have hope that this will be something that will happen. Discrimination is something that is rooted deep into us and our country as a whole. People can change but I’m not sure if the whole world would be able to change. People always want to be superior to others and this is why discrimination continues.

The IAT test was pretty fair in my opinion. I think it was good that it let you practice and had clear instructions. My only problem was that since the instructions kept changing I was confused and kept pressing the wrong answer because I forgot what button I was supposed to press. However, I think it is good to check yourself and your views without being direct. If it asked you direct questions, I think many people would lie and make themselves look better. This way the results wouldn’t be as accurate. I think it is important for everyone to see this bias even if you don’t know about it. That way you can change and improve as a person.

PineappleMan30
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 5

Implicit Biases

Children learn to discriminate through their environment and interaction with other people. No one is born discriminatory, it is learned, and not even consciously. Last week, we discussed the topic of judging, only using peppers as an example. We judged the peppers, we liked the ones we thought looked the most appealing the best. That’s harmless and a seemingly silly example, but we don’t only do that with peppers or food. We discriminate, we judge, we pick one thing over another based off what we think is the best, or, in most cases, implicitly without even realizing we did it. It is a combination of being innate and learned however, because, for an extreme example, say you are a kid growing up in a family who believes that all immigrants are taking jobs away from you. Your parents believe they should not be there, that the government should do something about it. Inherently, it is likely you will learn to believe the same thing, because your parents believe it. That is a poorly worded example of bias being learned instead of being subconscious. It is possible to unlearn it, but just like anything else, unlearning it is harder than learning it in the first place.

Since this is anonymous, I will be okay sharing the results of my IAT test. I took the racial bias test instead of the colorism test, and the test determined that I have no automatic preference between black and white people, which is what 18% of people who took the test got. I agree with it of course, but an online test isn’t necessarily going to be right about you, and it can only make an answer based off the input given and your reaction time to the images. I do think that that specific test is trustworthy because of the whole reaction time and word/picture association segment. I think this because it tells you when you get it wrong but the test, and you, both know that you, in your head, messed up and associated one thing with another incorrectly, therefore telling you about your biases.

butterfly123
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 8

Discrimination and Implicit Bias

Children growing up today are exposed to countless different influences. From their parents, teachers and friends at school, to their favorite characters on television shows, no one is exempt from being influenced by society. Children can learn to discriminate from any of these influences, however parents are by far the most prevalent. Young children especially, who are just starting to form their world views, are especially perceptive to their parents' biases. As razzledazzle8 said, “if a parent said a certain race was bad then their 4 year old child would believe it because they have no other evidence to think differently.” Yet other factors also influence young children. For example the media, which as razzledazzle8 also mentions, does not represent people of color, and can have huge influences on children. However it is still up to parents to not only be careful of what they say in front of their children, but to actively teach their children how to understand what they see in the media, and not develop discriminations.

In ‘The Moral Life of Babies’ Bloom discusses that babies do show preference for things that are the same as them. An example that he gives is that babies wearing different colored t-shirts will favor their own group over the other. While this might be a factor of what causes discrimination, I think that it is not entirely innate and must also be learned. As the doll study discusses, black children show preference for white dolls, which is against the innate preferences that they are born with. This is heartbreaking, and purely the influence of outside factors making them feel like they are worth less than white children. I think that while it may be difficult for fully formed discriminations to be undone it is not impossible. People must go further than just educating themselves, but make an effort to get to know people of other backgrounds and recognize that they aren’t that different. Discriminations can also be stopped or prevented when children are not fully developed, and don't have fully formed opinions yet.

I thought that the IAT results were interesting, and gave me something to think about. While I don’t think the test was entirely accurate, and as 239bid0073 mentioned, factors such as peoples typing abilities and focus can affect the results, I still believe that it is important to do. Personally, it made me think about my own implicit bias’, because we all do have at least some implicit bias. Taking the test made me more conscious of my own behavior in my everyday life, my thoughts as well as my actions that I take without thinking.

soleilmagic
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 8

Nature vs Nurture

After getting my IAT skin-tone test results which concluded that I apparently have a slight automatic preference for light-skinned people than dark-skinned people, I felt that the test was rigged in a sense, it was probably taking into consideration how fast you went when the negative words were associated with light-skinned people compared to when they were associated with dark-skinned people. The test was also difficult for those with comprehension issues, it may have been harder to go fast while also trying to remember what buttons to click, which does not test your race bias instead of comprehension skills. Anderson Cooper’s piece for CNN on skin color preferences investigated children’s responses when asked to judge what skin color young they 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.” . Essentially I believe that children’s prejudices are biased and affected by their environment and parents' views are reflected onto their children. You can’t judge that someone is bad or mean based on skin color yet the children do and basically all the light-skinned children pointed to the dark-skinned child and vice-versa. Granted the older kids were able to have their own opinions because they have more knowledge and understanding towards prejudice and bias, they know that you can’t judge based off skin color unlike the children whose opinions are heavily influenced on by their parents, children learn by watching and hearing so if the child assumes that the black child is the mean child then they had to have heard or seen that somewhere in their environment. Essentially, Cooper’s study was not scientific and therefore could easily be questioned. It was done in recreation of 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, done by Kenneth and Mamie Clark in 1940-41. Everyone has a right to their own thoughts and opinions but there is no doubt that they are heavily influenced by the people and environment we surround ourselves with, which for some people is not their choice.
Hector_Zeroni
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 9

”The only thing evil can’t stand is forgiveness.” ~Fred Rogers

Let’s say that you have a brand new sponge. This sponge is completely dry as you take it out of its packaging. You leave it alone on the kitchen counter, but when you return the next day, you find that the sponge is a little wet. You leave the sponge once again and find that the next day, the sponge is even more wet. You question how the sponge is able to get so wet. You allow this to continue for the next few days until you find out that your roommate thought it would be funny if they kept pouring water onto the sponge. Now it is completely bloated and every time you try to use it, it is unable to soak up any more water. After days of soaking up drops of water from your roommate, it has now become something completely different from what it was when you first unpacked it. Now imagine that, instead of a sponge, it was a child who was born into this world. Instead of your roommate pouring water on that child every day, they are now unknowingly spewing jokes and comments about certain people based on the way they look, the way they talk etc. Everyday, that child grows up hearing those jokes and comments until they begin to believe that what was being said is true. Eventually, they begin to look for online forums that would help validate their beliefs. They fall into a rabbit hole and begin listening to people who hold very extreme views. Soon, that child believes that anyone who doesn’t look like them should die and they’ll stop at nothing to make sure that belief becomes a reality.


If it wasn’t obvious from the previous paragraph, I believe that children are not born to discriminate. Because children are very impressionable, it is much easier for them to be influenced by the world around them. Children do not come out of their mother’s womb thinking, “Hmm, today feels like a good day to exterminate millions of people, and displace millions more simply because they don’t look like me.” Because children are with their families the most, they’re the ones that are most likely to influence the child. In fact, some say that the way a child behaves is more of a reflection of who their parents are, not who the child is as a person.


This might be going a bit off topic, but this is a major reason for the creation of The Lost Cause of the Confederacy. For those that don’t know. The Lost Cause of the Confederacy pretty much paints a different picture of the Civil War, as well as the Confederacy. It paints the Confederacy in a much more positive light, and it paints the Civil War as a war of Northern Aggression. Kids in the South would be taught these lies in hopes of keeping the spirit of the Confederacy alive, and it has worked. A year ago, I saw this video about students in a high school in Kansas debating about whether we should keep the Confederate Flag. As you watch the video, you can see that many kids must have been taught some form of Lost Cause Revisionism given how they painted the North in such a terrible light. There were only a few that stood out, but they were laughed at every time they gave real, historical facts about the Confederacy and the Civil War. It’s about 55 minutes long but if anyone wants to watch the video, look up “SME Confederate Flag Debate”


Until today, I’ve never told anyone this story of this encounter I had with an MBTA bus driver. About 5 years ago, I was taking the MBTA bus to school when I noticed something odd. Given the time I usually got on the bus, I’d always expect for the same driver to take me to school. On that day, however, they must have been sick or something as another driver had taken their place. What caught my eye about the driver was that she was wearing a hijab. All of a sudden, I trembled in fear. I almost did not want to get on the bus. Prior to that day, I had never met a Muslim in my life. As I sat down, the bus driver had taken a wrong turn and now I was worried that I would die. Once she stopped, I closed my eyes thinking that this was how my life would end. As it turned out, she stopped because she realized she was going the wrong direction and she tried asking people for help. Because I sat in the front, she noticed me through her mirror and she called me up so that I could help her find her way out. While I didn’t say anything rude or derogatory towards her, I could barely say anything as I was still controlled by fear. Once we made it to school, I never saw that driver again. After that moment, I was appalled by how I acted. By watching the news and hearing all these stories about how Islamic Terrorists have been threatening the west, I believe it played into this fear that I was going to die. Without even getting to know the driver, I allowed the hatred that many people have for Muslims to control me. I wasn’t born to fear Muslims, but growing up in the environment that I did caused me to. However, much like how you can squeeze all the water out of a sponge, a person is capable of unlearning certain things. It gets harder as you get older, but if you try your absolute hardest, it really is possible. Mr Rogers, for example, was bullied as a kid. While most people would say that this would cause someone like Fred Rogers to grow up hating people, he used those experiences from when he was young to make sure all kids grew up happy. If you’ve ever watched Mr Rogers Neighborhood, like I did when I was little, he always has a calm demeanor and he tries to instill good lessons for children to follow.


In regards to my IAT results, it stated that I, for the most part, hold no bias for or against a particular group of people. Personally, I don’t find the test to be a solid way to assess how biased you are. While I was taking the test, I remember being much more focused on trying to make sure I got the answers right the first time than I was trying to allow my biases to show up. I also don’t have the fastest reflexes in the world so that likely played a part. I think the only way one can truly see how biased they are is if they go out into the real world and find that out themselves.


To end this off, I believe that the only way we can bring about an end to all of this is if we treat one another with kindness and respect regardless of who they are. If someone is bullied and that bully knocks their books down, help that person pick up all of their books. If someone is being mean to you, say nothing but kind things about them. If someone made derogatory comments towards you, tell them that you forgive them and hope that they’ll one day see the error of their ways. While it may not completely solve all the world problems, it could bring us just one step closer to doing so. To quote Mr Rogers, as I already mentioned him earlier in this post, I’d like to say… Actually, you probably know what I’m going to say if you already saw the title of this post.

sanandomun
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 3

Sponge Brains

To me, discrimination has two meanings. First, to recognize that there is a difference between two or more things. Everyone is born with the ability to do so, and I think that in a way it is natural for young children to, at least initially and to a small extent, feel wary towards things that are unfamiliar, those that are not like them. This inclination, though, for most things, eventually goes away completely once a child learns that someone or something is perfectly normal and safe. But when children are learning about race and people of other races, this doesn’t necessarily happen. Instead, to varying degrees, they learn how to do the second meaning of the word “discriminate”: to make a prejudicial distinction towards a category of people.


I will speak from personal experience here, as someone who lives as a white girl. My first school was a particularly diverse public school in Dorchester. There, I befriended people of all different skin tones; the only conscious thought that I remember having about race was looking down at my hands one day and wondering what it would be like to see a different color on my skin, like some of my friends did every day. In my first grade class we talked about things like the civil rights movement in America, and I remember thinking that being mean to someone just because of their skin color was such a stupid idea.


Then, while I was still young, I transferred to a paid private Catholic school, and that diversity went away. This school wasn’t totally white by any means, but there was definitely a noticeable difference between the two student populations, although I paid no conscious mind to it at the time. However, the fact that the school I was told was “better” had more white students is definitely something that help builds implicit biases in not just me but likely many other students as well.


Implicit biases are developed in us as we grow up, built by details from the world around us that many of us never consciously realize as children. That is the dangerous thing: these biases are built subconsciously throughout our youths. No matter how hard we try, the things we learn while our brains are still like sponges can never completely be unlearned: it would be like trying to forget every word of your native language.


As for the IAT, I do think it is a good assessment of unconscious bias to an extent. I’m not sure if the two tests are much different, but just in case, I took the skin color bias test. This test first had me categorize the light skin faces on the same side as the positive words and the dark skin faces with the negative words. After three or so rounds of doing this, it then had the light skin faces and the dark skin faces switch sides. My problem with this is that I feel like this could skew the results, as the person doing the test has already started to associate light skin faces with one side and dark skin faces with another. When you switch this around, a person might struggle not just because of implicit biases but because at that point they have made an association with light or dark faces and the left or right side; the results might be more accurate if the test started with trying to group dark faces on the side of negative words and light skin faces on the side of positive words.


Edit: I did not intend to use the same sponge metaphor as the person above me

SlothsPoopOnceAWeek
Chestnuthill, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 8

Implicate Bias


Children grow from their environment. They learn the language that surrounds them, they eat the food that surrounds them, and they act the way that people surround them do. Everyone is just a product of their environment. This makes me lead to believe that discimination is learned. For example, there was one discussion we had in class regarding Germany and how they are taught from a young age not to discriminate. This makes me think, the United States has a lot of aspects of our lives that could be considered us learning to disciminate. Not only is it deeply rooted in different stereotpyes, as well as segregation, it is present in our flawed incaceration system. Those who are of color, mostly black people, have a higher right of being incarcerated for the same crime that a white person may have done. This makes children and other people across the United States believe that black people are criminals. Going back to the first question, I believe with the right amount of studies and research given to those who greatly discriminate, there could be a chance to undo the bias. But I don't think it could ever be completely erased from someone's mind, as that is how they grew up.

The IAT result told me that I am white leaning. While I was shocked with this answer, I was not completely suprised. I would like to say that I advocate greatly for the rights of minorities and those struggling all over the world. I am an ally for anyone and everyone. But the environment I grew up in was surrounded by both those who were unfamiliar with people that were not straight and white and those who were but were biased and subtly racists. But despite all of this, I did accidentally answer a few of the post excersise questions incorrectly. I misread the answers, and put in the opposite of what I believe in. Despite this, I do find that the exersise was valuable, as it made me really think about how we can determine different people's biases and what my bias was, even though I answered a few things wrong.

ilikekiwis
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 9

How do we keep letting people who use divisive language rise to prominence?

I do not believe that we are born to discriminate in regards to people. As seen in the experiments done in The Moral Life of Babies, babies as young as 6 months old are able to discern between colorful blocks of different colors, different puppets, and the concepts of good and bad. Given that one has good vision, anyone can differentiate between different colors and items, and anyone can see that humans come in a spectrum of equally beautiful colors. As in the original doll study in 1947 by Kenneth B. Clark and Mamie Clark, most children can identify a doll given a race and identify what doll looks like them by skin color. We are not born with innate negative connotations regarding any object. Once we are taught their meaning or connotation, our opinions develop. A child cannot be taught that one race is more dumb or uglier than another without divisive language or some sort of portrayal of those characteristics. If the baby were not showed one colorful block or puppet as being mean, they would have seen all three as neutral. Divisive language is the root of racial preferences and stereotypes. Even without social media, there have been people who assumed leadership roles and spread their rhetoric on scapegoating one group as the cause of all problems. History repeats itself in that way. People who can persuade the masses rise up. Knowing this, we need to work to stop divisive language from spreading whether in the media or in the environments of children. Parents should also be taught on how much their words, as harmless as they may seen, can be harmful to their children’s perspectives of other people. As Ruby Bridges mentioned in the video assigned for homework, she wasn’t mad at the boy who told her that he couldn’t play with her because of her skin color because his mom told him not to. What our parents tell us usually sticks, which is why results between the original doll study and Anderson Cooper’s 2010 test are very similar. As children got older in the 1947 study, they recognized the term, “Negro,” more in their identification of the races of the doll. This term was used more colloquially and often in a derogatory sense, which shows how quickly children are immersed into the world of divisive language even within a year's difference. For undoing these racial preferences and stereotypes, we need to just straight up explain to people of all ages why those views are wrong and the history behind them. No child is too young to understand how their fellow humans should be treated.

As for the IAT test, I took both the race and skin color test, though months apart, and got different results for each. This may be because the race test has pictures of actual people while the skin color test has cartoons. I don’t think the results are perfectly accurate. The surveyee’s surroundings can obscure their focus, as well as the length of the test or their day overall. Still, I find it valuable to take the test and try to reflect on situations where you have either felt the way the results indicate, the opposite, or neutral and how your life experiences have affected those. Was there a TV show you watched as a kid that portrayed one race as dumb or ugly, and could that affect your results after so many years? Is there any experience that could have particularly affected your results? Reflection is a powerful tool that even the most ridiculous tests on what Mac-N-Cheese type you are can incite. It’s vital to make use of those opportunities to better yourself.

beantown9
WEST ROXBURY, MA, US
Posts: 7

Adults and Parents in society

I think most children learn to discriminate from adults, but specifically their parents. I think it can come from both being learned and innate. I think it is a combination of the two, but i also think it more comes from learning. I believe it can be undone though if they are taught or showed that they shouldn't discriminate. One example of discrimination i remember from when I was younger was an episode of the show "That's so Raven". In the episode Raven and her friend both applied to the same positions for a job. Her friend who is white got the job, while Raven who is African-American did not get the job. This was because the manger who rejected Raven, but accepted her friend because she was white. Even though it was a tv show, how hurtful it was to Raven and that this was a realistic situation that could happen in our society. I think discrimination like this should never happen because everyone should get the same chance or opportunity no matter what race you are or what beliefs you have. The IAT test tells you how bias you are or how you view things, such as situations. I did think it was a valuable exercise because the results overall make you see how bias you are in viewing things.


posts 1 - 15 of 28