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dgavin
Posts: 10

Readings:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kids on Race: The Hidden Picture, 2012:

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

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

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orangesaregood
Posts: 17

Taking Candy from Babies

In the video of the dolls of different skin colors, the young children associated desirable traits with lighter skin, suggesting that they lack an open mind. However, Paul Bloom's article "The Moral Life of Babies suggests the opposite, citing examples in which babies preferred to associate with helper shapes and antagonized the hinderer shapes.

Indeed, these conflicting findings may not stem from a sense of morality. Rather, it may be only that children want to associate themselves with what they see as "good" and "right," whether that be in light-skinned dolls or helper shapes.

What causes this association between dark skin and negative traits? It may be the media. Even adults who frequent theaters see that main characters, round characters, and love interests are overwhelmingly white, while sexless side characters are often nonwhite.

As adolescents and adults, we attribute a sense of right and wrong to situations and experiments, without acknowledging that babies perhaps just want to distinguish between what may be good and what may be bad for evolutionary safety. Mahzarin Banaji's experiment reinforces this, as babies growing up in a racially unbiased environment showed less bias in the experiments. Instead of so quickly ascribing morality and prejudice to children who prefer lighter skin, we should look at ourselves and see that we are the ones perpetuating our beliefs onto young people.

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iLoveFood
Posts: 21

What's up with racial preference among children?

For a long time now, there was always a part of me that just couldn’t get past stereotyping people based on their skin color and associating people with their skin, even though I knew it was wrong. I know many of my friends do the same, so I always found impossible not to have the idea of race at the back of my mind. How could I have learned the concept of race if it is always in my face, if people always talk about it? Turns out there’s evidence that says race really is something you learn.


What I think the Doll study, in addition to Paul Bloom’s study of babies and Mahzarin Banaji’s research proves is that society really does enforces race and racial stereotypes onto children. While I was reading the Doll Study findings, Table 2 of the study interested me. In this table, the subjects were separated into ages, and the table presented results that proved that as children got older, they became better and better at being able to identify a white doll, a black doll, and a Negro doll. While some children at the age of three already knew that being black and white were different, the fact that there was a dramatic increase of accuracy as older children were being tested shows that the environment and the society they lived in contributed greatly to this idea of race. Banaji’s experiment only adds to the fact that children learn about race identity as they grow older.


In addition, Paul Bloom’s article really strengthened this idea I had started to gather from these articles. Paul Bloom utilizes many examples of tests, research and findings to conclude that “babies have an actual understanding of mental life: they have some grasp of how people think and why they act as they do.” In fact, because of this ability, babies and young toddlers can learn from an extremely early age what race is, just like how they learn to understand the nature of objects around them. They can perceive how the adults around them act in regards to race, and then be able to mimic this behavior as they grow up. This connects back to the kids’ explanations in the short videos when they were asked about why they couldn’t be friends with kids with a different skin color from them; they said that it was because their parents wouldn’t allow it. Their parents enforce the idea that a person with a different skin color is very different from them, and children willingly believe this because they are the adults who should know everything.


It was really interesting reading about the huge amount of evidence that suggests race is something that is learned. It makes me wonder if it’s possible for children in the future to learn not to see race and color. As for me, it’s been so ingrained in my head that I can’t even imagine what it would be like to not see color, and honestly, I think that’s a little sad.
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OceanEscape19
Posts: 20

Racial Preference in Kids

Anderson Cooper study wasn’t scientific, however the results we a smaller reproduction of a scientific study done by Kenneth and Mamie Clark. Kenneth and Mamie Clark accounted for as many variable as possible. Geography, age, skin color, and gender were all varied. Through that study it's clear that that kids (ages 3-7) do present with racial biases. Through further research the biases and behavior are clearly explained by 2 things: nature and nurture.


Paul Bloom’s research provides insight about the nature. His research focusses on babies. They are just beginning their development and they don’t understand the constructs of society, their reactions are very basic. However, they understand most of the simple moral ideas that we also identify. Babies could clearly identify “helpers and hinderers” in a situation, and instinctively liked the helpers. It was also shown that toddlers want to help, and will offer it spontaneously. So babies do have morals, but only morals that are important to nature. These are like biological morals, similar to the ideas in Dinesh D’souza. Babies choose actions that are evolutionary helpful. They may want to help adults because they are dependent on them. Perhaps most interesting, is that they prefer people who look like them and act like them. Their decisions aren’t based on a desire to hurt or exclude someone, it is just in our nature to order and separate things. So while Bloom tells us that everyone understands parts of morality. His research can’t explain how this “baby morality” turns into racial biases.


That is where nature comes in. Banaji’s research lets us understand how biases can change and grow. The gist is kind of simple. Kinds understand and absorb more information than parents think. So small gestures or actions that promote racism quickly become imbedded as negative biases. The reverse is also true, if you expose kids to diversity and acceptance then they mimic that behavior. So here’s the conclusion: kids don’t show racial preference out of genuine dislike for different people. They do it because we have a tendency to separate our surroundings, and no one ever taught them that having differences is normal.

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Otto von Bismarck
Posts: 19

Biases, Political Correctness, Second reactions, and Blowjobs

I believe that children think the way they do (associating lighter skin with being 'good' and darker skin with being 'bad') because of the way that our society portrays minorities and especially black people. Mind you, I'm not saying that racism is an acceptable form of expression in the mainstream culture of America anymore - if anything, it's the opposite, with political correctness taking over the country. But despite all this, I think that PC culture is rather like slapping a band-aid onto an infected cut. Sure, you can't see the problem anymore, but that doesn't mean your arm isn't going to fall off and you're gonna die.

Likewise, political correctness is a sickness used by liberals to oppress political dialogue in certain areas of politics rather than actually fix problems because it's better in the minds of many social justice warriors to appear not to be racist, instead of actually solving the problems that racism causes. It's because of inherent biases in the media and the way that we unconsciously associate crime and bad things with minorities that young children adopt the biases that they do, even minority children to an extent.

As for the articles that we read, I think that Bloom and Banaji's studies were very interesting and also gives me hope for the potential of a truly post-racial future, where blacks and whites and Asians and Hispanics and all that can not only peacefully coexist together, but also truly view each other as people, with racial labels only being a small factor in judging and evaluating a person, or not at all, and not instead being one of the main factors. With the new studies showing that infants and the young children already have a basic sense of morality, and with Banaji suggesting that learned biases can also be unlearned, I believe that perhaps in the near future we can reverse the growing trends of racial separation that seem to be emerging once more in this country and finally just go back to the 90s when Bill Clinton was president, communism was dead, there weren't racial protests going on every weekend, and the biggest problem we had as a nation was whether or not our president got a blowjob from an intern.

There's a quote that I saw some time ago from someone. He detailed how he regretted growing up in a very homophobic household, so that his first reaction whenever he sees a gay couple is disgust, and he has to consciously pause him and rationally remind himself that the gay men are also people and deserving of respect. But he claims that this is actually good, because, "Your first reaction to when you see something is how you were raised. Your second reaction to that same thing is who you truly are."

I believe that idea is very important to a racial discussion like this, because if we're being honest, the concept of race is never going to go away. Black people won't stop being black and Asians won't stop having small eyes just because we claim that we as a country isn't racist anymore. However, having inherent biases against people of different races isn't as important as the physical actions that you take, and the 'second reaction' that you have when you pause and remind yourself that the other person, despite having a different skin color, is still a human being and thus deserving of respect. I'm personally more concerned about getting us as a nation to that point, rather than to a point where we eliminated biases altogether, which is probably going to take a while.

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Otto von Bismarck
Posts: 19

Originally posted by OceanEscape19 on October 11, 2017 19:29

Anderson Cooper study wasn’t scientific, however the results we a smaller reproduction of a scientific study done by Kenneth and Mamie Clark. Kenneth and Mamie Clark accounted for as many variable as possible. Geography, age, skin color, and gender were all varied. Through that study it's clear that that kids (ages 3-7) do present with racial biases. Through further research the biases and behavior are clearly explained by 2 things: nature and nurture.


Paul Bloom’s research provides insight about the nature. His research focusses on babies. They are just beginning their development and they don’t understand the constructs of society, their reactions are very basic. However, they understand most of the simple moral ideas that we also identify. Babies could clearly identify “helpers and hinderers” in a situation, and instinctively liked the helpers. It was also shown that toddlers want to help, and will offer it spontaneously. So babies do have morals, but only morals that are important to nature. These are like biological morals, similar to the ideas in Dinesh D’souza. Babies choose actions that are evolutionary helpful. They may want to help adults because they are dependent on them. Perhaps most interesting, is that they prefer people who look like them and act like them. Their decisions aren’t based on a desire to hurt or exclude someone, it is just in our nature to order and separate things. So while Bloom tells us that everyone understands parts of morality. His research can’t explain how this “baby morality” turns into racial biases.


That is where nature comes in. Banaji’s research lets us understand how biases can change and grow. The gist is kind of simple. Kinds understand and absorb more information than parents think. So small gestures or actions that promote racism quickly become imbedded as negative biases. The reverse is also true, if you expose kids to diversity and acceptance then they mimic that behavior. So here’s the conclusion: kids don’t show racial preference out of genuine dislike for different people. They do it because we have a tendency to separate our surroundings, and no one ever taught them that having differences is normal.

I like this post, especially the ending.

I can literally solve racism in America with one step: stop being a jerk.

When did being decent go out of fashion in America? Twenty years ago, a candidate like Trump who said all the things he does about 'pussies' and Mexicans being racists would've lost to a classy man like Bill Clinton or Reagan by a landslide. And yet today, despite all the progress we've seemed to have made, our politics and respect towards each other as people seem to be slipping down farther and farther. All you need to do is open Twitter to see black people disparage all white people while simultaneously complain about being stereotyped and lumped together, and all you need to do is turn on the TV to watch Tea Party Republicans and Trump say some more bullshit that doesn't make sense because they don't care if what they say is true or respectful, as long as it has the shock value.

If we were all kinder and just better people towards each other, maybe all this political mudslinging and disrespect towards each other and the growing racial rift might not have happened, or at least would've happened to a lesser extent. Mr. Gavin knows that this isn't the kind of comment I'd usually write. Maybe I'm being too influenced by The Newsroom, Aaron Sorkin, and Will McAvoy right now (if anyone knows those three names, you're real).

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Otto von Bismarck
Posts: 19

Originally posted by iLoveFood on October 11, 2017 18:32

For a long time now, there was always a part of me that just couldn’t get past stereotyping people based on their skin color and associating people with their skin, even though I knew it was wrong. I know many of my friends do the same, so I always found impossible not to have the idea of race at the back of my mind. How could I have learned the concept of race if it is always in my face, if people always talk about it? Turns out there’s evidence that says race really is something you learn.


What I think the Doll study, in addition to Paul Bloom’s study of babies and Mahzarin Banaji’s research proves is that society really does enforces race and racial stereotypes onto children. While I was reading the Doll Study findings, Table 2 of the study interested me. In this table, the subjects were separated into ages, and the table presented results that proved that as children got older, they became better and better at being able to identify a white doll, a black doll, and a Negro doll. While some children at the age of three already knew that being black and white were different, the fact that there was a dramatic increase of accuracy as older children were being tested shows that the environment and the society they lived in contributed greatly to this idea of race. Banaji’s experiment only adds to the fact that children learn about race identity as they grow older.


In addition, Paul Bloom’s article really strengthened this idea I had started to gather from these articles. Paul Bloom utilizes many examples of tests, research and findings to conclude that “babies have an actual understanding of mental life: they have some grasp of how people think and why they act as they do.” In fact, because of this ability, babies and young toddlers can learn from an extremely early age what race is, just like how they learn to understand the nature of objects around them. They can perceive how the adults around them act in regards to race, and then be able to mimic this behavior as they grow up. This connects back to the kids’ explanations in the short videos when they were asked about why they couldn’t be friends with kids with a different skin color from them; they said that it was because their parents wouldn’t allow it. Their parents enforce the idea that a person with a different skin color is very different from them, and children willingly believe this because they are the adults who should know everything.


It was really interesting reading about the huge amount of evidence that suggests race is something that is learned. It makes me wonder if it’s possible for children in the future to learn not to see race and color. As for me, it’s been so ingrained in my head that I can’t even imagine what it would be like to not see color, and honestly, I think that’s a little sad.

It's not possible for children to not see color in the future, because color exists in the world. We can talk all we want in Facing about what 'really' defines a 'race' and how it's not just skin color, but let's be honest here: it's mostly about skin color. A kid is never going to mix a dude from Senegal with a woman from Sweden, and me being from where I am, I would never expect to be mixed up with someone from, say, Germany.

My point is that wanting a colorblind world is not a practical nor, arguably, even desirable goal. The truth is we're not different, and just because we tell kids that there's no difference, they'll be able to see for themselves that races aren't the same in multiple different ways.

As I detailed in my original post, it's not really about not seeing color that's important; it's about seeing color and recognizing that you, assuming you're white (and if you're not then my bad), are physically and to a certain extent biologically as well as culturally different from say an Arab. But, once you've recognized that, the more important thing is knowing that they are also as human as you and just as deserving of decency and respect. That to me is more important than a colorblind world, which I believe is impossible anyways.

And even if my goal - of a world where decency reigns - is ultimately impossible too, I'd much rather tell whatever god is up there when I die that I spent my life fighting for decency and kindness, rather than for a medical condition where people can't see color.

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freemanjud
Posts: 42


If we were all kinder and just better people towards each other, maybe all this political mudslinging and disrespect towards each other and the growing racial rift might not have happened, or at least would've happened to a lesser extent. Mr. Gavin knows that this isn't the kind of comment I'd usually write. Maybe I'm being too influenced by The Newsroom, Aaron Sorkin, and Will McAvoy right now (if anyone knows those three names, you're real).

Will McAvoy (channeling his inner Aaron Sorkin) would DEFINITELY say that. But whether being kinder and just better people would be enough to address the rift? I don't know. One can hope but I somehow think we are too far down the highway to solve this by being kinder and just better. Sad, I know.

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orangesaregood
Posts: 17

Inquiry

OceanEscape19 posited that "Perhaps most interesting, is that they prefer people who look like them and act like them." However, the study conducted by Kenneth and Mamie Clark showed that the black children chose the white doll for the "nice" and "want to play with" attributes.

Otto von Bismarck also said "I can literally solve racism in America with one step: stop being a dick." Though this may address day-to-day racism and prejudice, will this solve racial problems at the systematic (e.g. economic) level such as gentrification?

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Milo2017
Posts: 20

Yikes

I think there are a lot of factors that go into young children’s view of different races. Take me for example, I went to an elementary/middle school that had a racial makeup of over 70% being people of color. I never explicitly had conversations with my parents about skin color but going to a school that was so diverse in ethnicities, I was exposed to the different races very early. My mom loves to tell the story of when I came home asking her if we were Haitian. I so desperately wanted to have something I could relate to them with. I even went as far to ask them to teach me Creole. So I never knew anything different than these people were my friends. I was lucky that way. Some children don’t get to have those experiences. The majority of children go to schools that are predominantly their own race. And like Mr. Gavin said, it was considered taboo to talk about the other races in depth. I also think kids are just naive but I think the environment and their parents have a crazy amount of influence on them. Of course kids can grow up and form their own opinions but it’s really hard to break out of those ways you were raised on; Some people even choose not to. I think that babies have a psychological understanding of how things work but like one of the articles said they enjoy reacting to facial expressions and I don’t think that they register color the way that older kids and adults do. I think watching the videos the most heart wrenching thing was the African American girls/boys that thought they were ugly because white girls are considered pretty in their minds. This also is attributed to outside factors like the media. Whitewashing is a serious problem within Hollywood and the media. It’s no wonder that African American kids grow up believing they aren’t pretty because their are rare instances where their skin color/culture is celebrated the way white skin color/culture is.

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Milo2017
Posts: 20

Originally posted by iLoveFood on October 11, 2017 18:32

For a long time now, there was always a part of me that just couldn’t get past stereotyping people based on their skin color and associating people with their skin, even though I knew it was wrong. I know many of my friends do the same, so I always found impossible not to have the idea of race at the back of my mind. How could I have learned the concept of race if it is always in my face, if people always talk about it? Turns out there’s evidence that says race really is something you learn.


What I think the Doll study, in addition to Paul Bloom’s study of babies and Mahzarin Banaji’s research proves is that society really does enforces race and racial stereotypes onto children. While I was reading the Doll Study findings, Table 2 of the study interested me. In this table, the subjects were separated into ages, and the table presented results that proved that as children got older, they became better and better at being able to identify a white doll, a black doll, and a Negro doll. While some children at the age of three already knew that being black and white were different, the fact that there was a dramatic increase of accuracy as older children were being tested shows that the environment and the society they lived in contributed greatly to this idea of race. Banaji’s experiment only adds to the fact that children learn about race identity as they grow older.


In addition, Paul Bloom’s article really strengthened this idea I had started to gather from these articles. Paul Bloom utilizes many examples of tests, research and findings to conclude that “babies have an actual understanding of mental life: they have some grasp of how people think and why they act as they do.” In fact, because of this ability, babies and young toddlers can learn from an extremely early age what race is, just like how they learn to understand the nature of objects around them. They can perceive how the adults around them act in regards to race, and then be able to mimic this behavior as they grow up. This connects back to the kids’ explanations in the short videos when they were asked about why they couldn’t be friends with kids with a different skin color from them; they said that it was because their parents wouldn’t allow it. Their parents enforce the idea that a person with a different skin color is very different from them, and children willingly believe this because they are the adults who should know everything.


It was really interesting reading about the huge amount of evidence that suggests race is something that is learned. It makes me wonder if it’s possible for children in the future to learn not to see race and color. As for me, it’s been so ingrained in my head that I can’t even imagine what it would be like to not see color, and honestly, I think that’s a little sad.

I think it’s so brave for you to admit the fact that it’s ingrained in your mind because I too, when watching the videos and looking at the pictures they were showing to the kids, realized that my mind saw them with implicit bias

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Milo2017
Posts: 20

Originally posted by Otto von Bismarck on October 11, 2017 21:38

Originally posted by iLoveFood on October 11, 2017 18:32

For a long time now, there was always a part of me that just couldn’t get past stereotyping people based on their skin color and associating people with their skin, even though I knew it was wrong. I know many of my friends do the same, so I always found impossible not to have the idea of race at the back of my mind. How could I have learned the concept of race if it is always in my face, if people always talk about it? Turns out there’s evidence that says race really is something you learn.


What I think the Doll study, in addition to Paul Bloom’s study of babies and Mahzarin Banaji’s research proves is that society really does enforces race and racial stereotypes onto children. While I was reading the Doll Study findings, Table 2 of the study interested me. In this table, the subjects were separated into ages, and the table presented results that proved that as children got older, they became better and better at being able to identify a white doll, a black doll, and a Negro doll. While some children at the age of three already knew that being black and white were different, the fact that there was a dramatic increase of accuracy as older children were being tested shows that the environment and the society they lived in contributed greatly to this idea of race. Banaji’s experiment only adds to the fact that children learn about race identity as they grow older.


In addition, Paul Bloom’s article really strengthened this idea I had started to gather from these articles. Paul Bloom utilizes many examples of tests, research and findings to conclude that “babies have an actual understanding of mental life: they have some grasp of how people think and why they act as they do.” In fact, because of this ability, babies and young toddlers can learn from an extremely early age what race is, just like how they learn to understand the nature of objects around them. They can perceive how the adults around them act in regards to race, and then be able to mimic this behavior as they grow up. This connects back to the kids’ explanations in the short videos when they were asked about why they couldn’t be friends with kids with a different skin color from them; they said that it was because their parents wouldn’t allow it. Their parents enforce the idea that a person with a different skin color is very different from them, and children willingly believe this because they are the adults who should know everything.


It was really interesting reading about the huge amount of evidence that suggests race is something that is learned. It makes me wonder if it’s possible for children in the future to learn not to see race and color. As for me, it’s been so ingrained in my head that I can’t even imagine what it would be like to not see color, and honestly, I think that’s a little sad.

It's not possible for children to not see color in the future, because color exists in the world. We can talk all we want in Facing about what 'really' defines a 'race' and how it's not just skin color, but let's be honest here: it's mostly about skin color. A kid is never going to mix a dude from Senegal with a chick from Sweden, and me being from where I am, I would never expect to be mixed up with someone from, say, Germany.

My point is that wanting a colorblind world is not a practical nor, arguably, even desirable goal. The truth is we're not different, and just because we tell kids that there's no difference, unless it's to a bunch of Helen Keller's, they'll be able to see for themselves that races aren't the same in multiple different ways.

As I detailed in my original post, it's not really about not seeing color that's important; it's about seeing color and recognizing that you, assuming you're white (and if you're not then my bad), are physically and to a certain extent biologically as well as culturally different from say an Arab. But, once you've recognized that, the more important thing is knowing that they are also as human as you and just as deserving of decency and respect. That to me is more important than a colorblind world, which I believe is impossible anyways.

And even if my goal - of a world where decency reigns - is ultimately impossible too, I'd much rather tell whatever god is up there when I die that I spent my life fighting for decency and kindness, rather than for a medical condition where people can't see color.

I don’t think that’s what ilovefood was saying. I think they meant that they would like to see a world where the color doesn’t mean anything. Of course color exists in this world and no one is saying they want that to not be a thing because unless we all become colorblind then it’s just not possible but seeing color on a human being and recognizing “ok they aren’t from where I’m from” and saying “so what? It doesn’t matter” is the ultimate goal in my opinion. But that only exists in a perfect world which is impossible and I’d love to see it happen but unless the human race is destroyed and recreated than there’s always going to be a racist somewhere

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pats4life
Posts: 21

Children and their Biases, where they come from

What makes kids have the opinions that they do when it comes to race. This was the question that Anderson Cooper and his team aimed to answer when he did his study. Personally I think that kids get their opinions from the environment that they grow up in. For example, if a child grew up in an environment where racial mixing was frowned upon and was told that they need to have friends of the same race, it would make sense why they think the way that they do. But it is not always the case as shown in the end of the CNN video that we watched in class. The white female child at the end of the video talked about how her grandparents are “very racist toward Black people.” This would make me think that her point of view would be different as she does not care what skin color someone is, she still wants to be friends with everyone. Which is an excellent outlook to have. Now with this her parents must have had a different outlook than her grandparents because in my opinion children get their opinions from their parents as they spend the most time with them. I also found Paul Bloom’s article interesting as it tells of the child who not only take away the treat but also hits the puppet. Not only did it happen with this child but many others as the test was carried out. I found the point he made of how parents form their children. This sort of runs with my point that the environment that a child grows up in affects their points and how they act. This can run with the children and race argument such as, if a child grows up in an environment that expresses racism or does not talk about racism. Now for a lot of people this can be a surprise because they may think that not talking about racism would not bring up the problem. But it definitely can because if you don’t talk about it then children will not know how to handle it if it comes up.

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iLoveFood
Posts: 21

Originally posted by Otto von Bismarck on October 11, 2017 21:38

Originally posted by iLoveFood on October 11, 2017 18:32

For a long time now, there was always a part of me that just couldn’t get past stereotyping people based on their skin color and associating people with their skin, even though I knew it was wrong. I know many of my friends do the same, so I always found impossible not to have the idea of race at the back of my mind. How could I have learned the concept of race if it is always in my face, if people always talk about it? Turns out there’s evidence that says race really is something you learn.


What I think the Doll study, in addition to Paul Bloom’s study of babies and Mahzarin Banaji’s research proves is that society really does enforces race and racial stereotypes onto children. While I was reading the Doll Study findings, Table 2 of the study interested me. In this table, the subjects were separated into ages, and the table presented results that proved that as children got older, they became better and better at being able to identify a white doll, a black doll, and a Negro doll. While some children at the age of three already knew that being black and white were different, the fact that there was a dramatic increase of accuracy as older children were being tested shows that the environment and the society they lived in contributed greatly to this idea of race. Banaji’s experiment only adds to the fact that children learn about race identity as they grow older.


In addition, Paul Bloom’s article really strengthened this idea I had started to gather from these articles. Paul Bloom utilizes many examples of tests, research and findings to conclude that “babies have an actual understanding of mental life: they have some grasp of how people think and why they act as they do.” In fact, because of this ability, babies and young toddlers can learn from an extremely early age what race is, just like how they learn to understand the nature of objects around them. They can perceive how the adults around them act in regards to race, and then be able to mimic this behavior as they grow up. This connects back to the kids’ explanations in the short videos when they were asked about why they couldn’t be friends with kids with a different skin color from them; they said that it was because their parents wouldn’t allow it. Their parents enforce the idea that a person with a different skin color is very different from them, and children willingly believe this because they are the adults who should know everything.


It was really interesting reading about the huge amount of evidence that suggests race is something that is learned. It makes me wonder if it’s possible for children in the future to learn not to see race and color. As for me, it’s been so ingrained in my head that I can’t even imagine what it would be like to not see color, and honestly, I think that’s a little sad.

It's not possible for children to not see color in the future, because color exists in the world. We can talk all we want in Facing about what 'really' defines a 'race' and how it's not just skin color, but let's be honest here: it's mostly about skin color. A kid is never going to mix a dude from Senegal with a chick from Sweden, and me being from where I am, I would never expect to be mixed up with someone from, say, Germany.

My point is that wanting a colorblind world is not a practical nor, arguably, even desirable goal. The truth is we're not different, and just because we tell kids that there's no difference, unless it's to a bunch of Helen Keller's, they'll be able to see for themselves that races aren't the same in multiple different ways.

As I detailed in my original post, it's not really about not seeing color that's important; it's about seeing color and recognizing that you, assuming you're white (and if you're not then my bad), are physically and to a certain extent biologically as well as culturally different from say an Arab. But, once you've recognized that, the more important thing is knowing that they are also as human as you and just as deserving of decency and respect. That to me is more important than a colorblind world, which I believe is impossible anyways.

And even if my goal - of a world where decency reigns - is ultimately impossible too, I'd much rather tell whatever god is up there when I die that I spent my life fighting for decency and kindness, rather than for a medical condition where people can't see color.

Thanks Otto van Bismarck; you made some really good points that are forcing me to rethink my previous ideas! I always thought it wasn't fair for people of color to fight against discrimination their entire lives. They face racism, microaggressions, and more daily, while white people don't have to face any prejudice, and I just feel like that's unfair. On another kind of related point, I attended a college prep program over the summer, where I got to hear a lot of black people voice their opinions about the matter of racism. Many argued that they eventually get tired of white people asking them to explain things about their culture and race. "Go on the internet!" was the response many black people choose to tell whites, arguing that it isn't their job to educate the populace about matters. If I'm understanding you correctly, this is somewhat the opposite of what you believe in, which makes me think that maybe living in a colorblind world could be beneficial especially to people of color. I know it's pretty much impossible, but I always found that this colorblind world, no matter how impossible, is a better alternative to the world we live in right now.

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junglejim4322
Posts: 18

It Takes a Village to Raise a Child...

The New York Times article regarding the “moral of babies” sums up my thoughts on the issue almost perfectly. Children imitate adults and behaviors that surround them. I’ve always (and I think I still do, at least in some sense) think that racism is something that is taught. I don’t think anyone is born racist, but I do believe that as a result of exterior forces such as our family’s opinions or portrayals of race in the media can explain why individuals are not “color-blind”. Young children are extremely vulnerable in their early years of life, especially to these external forces. As the article suggested, this is how they distinguish from “good” and “bad”. In government class last year, we talked a great deal about how the greatest factor in political socialization (the process of people forming their political beliefs) is our friends, family, and the media, and I feel like this explains a lot about racial preference.


Similar to what ‘Otto von Bismarck’ stated, I do have hope for future generations after reading Bloom and Banaj’s studies. If we all want to eliminate this issue of racial preference, especially among children, I believe that parents should have a sense of responsibility to initiate “the race talk”. Race, I feel like, is a very sensitive topic to have a conversation about. It’s clearly very important in each of our identities (as it should be), but by talking about something, it brings a sense of openness and makes the topic less uncomfortable. Additionally, I grew up watching tv shows like That’s So Raven or The Proud Family which taught me so much about race in an extremely appropriate manner. Sadly these shows don’t exist anymore but I feel like future generations of young adults and even kids would benefit from the revival of these types of shows.


Also one more thing. During the video we watched in class when the kids said that they couldn’t have biracial friendships, I couldn’t help but think about the story about the two young boys (one black, one white) who both agreed to get the same haircut because they didn’t want their teacher to be able to tell them apart. Please look it up if you haven’t already seen it-- it’s heartwarming and offers a great deal of hope.


The one takeaway I have from this reading is that unfortunately, I cannot help but wonder if “preferencing” and “categorization” based off of one’s physical appearance is something that is ever going to change. I feel like it’s so common in human nature to form an opinion of someone/something without getting to actually be familiar with it. Maybe we will be the generation that ends racism, but I wonder if we will continue to prejudge an individual based off their physical attributes. Just a thought.

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