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user01135
West Roxbury, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 8

What's Up with Racial Preference among Children

Children's behavior is learned at a very young age. Because of this, it is very easy for children to learn to be biased and racist at a young age. Bloom's article teaches us that babies are very aware and can easily pick up biased ideas and characteristics from family members. Babies don't have a sense of what is right and what is wrong, they just copy what others do.

You can see this idea in Andersen Cooper's video. The younger group of kids were quick to respond to the questions with bias. These kids have no idea that what they are saying is wrong they just know it is all they have been taught. It is possible that children taught these things at a young age will never outgrow them and will grow up to join extremist groups who cause terror on the world like the groups we talked about in class the other day. It is also possible that children outgrow these ideas. Some of the older kids took the time to say that it does not matter what color someone is and that all people can be just as smart.

James Burnett talks about these possibilities. He talks about how things can change. He talks about how it is easier to teach someone who grows up with the right morals how to be a good person than someone who grows up biased. Everyone has grown up and been taught something biased, but there is always a solution to the problem. People can work on realizing when they are biased and wrong and fixing their ideas, while working on learning how to teach young children good morals. If the environment outside every babies eyes is unbiased, then the problem does not exist.

user01135
West Roxbury, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 8

Originally posted by watermelon2 on October 12, 2021 20:24

Just like how a lack of celebrities of color influences children’s beliefs of race and preferred skin color, similarly, a lack of people of color in positions of power also influences their beliefs. The fact that the people in power and holding high and positive-associated positions are predominantly white sends out a message to children of color that they aren’t meant to be in those positions. It causes them to devalue their potential and associate success and fame with being white. As a person of color myself, when I was younger, I often felt like there were certain jobs I was destined to go into and others where I simply wouldn’t belong. I had trouble seeing myself in certain fields because I would look into them and see that they weren’t led and run by people that looked like me. This contributes to an idea that Banaji’s study touched on, which is that a lack of diversity is an explanation for racial preferences. The fact that we are still living in such a racially segregated country allows for these barriers and divisions to be made, therefore leading to racial preferences. Banaji explains that “even a child whose parents make no conscious effort to teach [him] not to be prejudiced can shed that prejudice if he finds himself in a diverse enough place.” If children grow up in a diverse environment with little racial bias influencing their beliefs, they would most likely have less racial preferences. But if children grow up in a place where there is racial diversity and they feel loved for who they are, their racially biased views will change.

I like how you address the fact that there are not enough people of color in power. I think this is something not a lot of people tend to notice. I think people believe everyone was given a fair shot and the outcome is a coincidence, and people fail to realize that people of color are disadvantaged in every situation. Because of this disadvantage young children are influenced and discouraged. I think this is something that needs to be fixed in our world very soon, or we could continuously grow more biased over time.

watermelon2
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 14

Originally posted by jellybeans101 on October 13, 2021 11:21

In Bloom's article we see how babies have an expectation as to how objects or people should behave. Babies don't have the predetermined expedition of beliefs and desire but the concept of push and pull. The experience shows children prefer people who act the same way as then, have the same shirt, or speak the same language. The goes hand in hand with the idea that being similar is being "nice."

This study showed that children prefer people similar to them and see them as "nice." I wanted to add that this relates specifically to racial preference because we live in a predominantly white society. Therefore, the majority of our country has a tendency to prefer the white race. We even saw that kids of color often saw white people as "nicer," and I think this is explained by the fact that living in a predominantly white society influences their beliefs and what they see as the expected "norm."

SlicedBread
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 12

What's Up with Racial Preference Among Children?

Children’s views on what is moral or immoral, good or bad, desirable or undesirable mostly come from the environment/culture they grew up in. In Paul Bloom’s article about morality in children he was able to figure out that kids did have an innate idea of morality, but what was considered moral or immoral to them was determined by the world around them: “toddlers have a mental model not merely of the world but of the world as understood by someone else.” Children, especially at a very young age, consider things to be good or bad based more on other people’s input and less on their own, since they haven’t started thinking too much for themselves quite yet or developed the “filter” we were talking about in class. It’s because of this, that the biases children have are very reflective of the world around them. That said, as mentioned in Mahzarin Banji’s article, while children are able to pick up on biases very quickly, they are also able to unlearn or lessen as they age and are put into environments where different groups of people are seen as equals.


So, if what Bloom says is true, “much of the morality that humans possess is a consequence of the culture in which they are raised, not their innate capacities”, why do children have racial preferences at such a young age? Because they are taught and brought up in a culture that does. Specifically when it comes to media you will much more easily find white people in tv, film, news networks etc., than a person of color. This also extends to representation in government, and many other work industries. In addition, when there are people of color in media they are often characterized to fit a certain stereotype, and when children see this over and over again they start to internalize this and believe it to be true, especially if this is the only impression they have of a certain group of people. This is where implicit biases start to grow within people that they might not even know they have. One might think that racial preference comes down to an us vs them mentality, where you are bound to prefer people of your own race. Granted, this may have somewhat of an impact, but there is certainly something bigger at play here considering that in both Clark and Cooper’s studies both black and white children had a racial preference for white children/dolls.

watermelon2
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 14

Originally posted by booksandcandles on October 13, 2021 19:32

In Paul Bloom's article, he discusses babies and their morals, if they have them. What he found is that very young children don't have an inherent sense of right or wrong, they just know what they want. If this is true, it means that children learn their morals from the people around them.

I completely agree with you, and I think that this is a very important point. This is crucial in explaining racial preference because it shows that children develop these preferences not because they are deciding to or being told to, but simply impacted by the people around them and their environment. This is what makes it so hard to overcome this seemingly unconcious development of racial preference in young children.

strawberry123
Chestnut Hill, MA, US
Posts: 12

What's Up with Racial Preference among Children?

Is racism something that you're born into? Is it a behavior that is taught by one's surroundings? How can we prevent future generations from prejudice and bias ideologies? These are all questions that remain partially unanswered by many psychologists and anthropologists. If we focus on adolescents, many studies have found biased preferences and opinions when it comes to questions about race. In Paul Bloom's New York Times article, "The Moral Life of Babies", there is strong growing evidence that socialization is critically important. Bloom emphasizes the idea that babies do not have preexisting beliefs on a subject deeply complex as the classification of a so-called superior race. In his "Nice Babies" section of the article, he elaborates that similar behavior is ranked as "nice" behavior by children. This ties into the doll study in which foreshadows this issue that children have between being able to disconnect similar attributes from "good" ones.

Mahzarin Banaji, a renowned Harvard University psychologist, brain researcher, and racism and physical prejudice expert, also researched children's biased and shocking opinions in a study that prompted young children to draw the faces of certain races -- black, white, and Asian. Here, he was able to include that children process information depending on how adults react. In a way, children reflect adults' internal and external racism through their facial expressions: frowning means angry, and smiling means happy. From this, the varying drawings of white people were described in a positive way whereas Asian and black faces were rather negative. This shows that children do indeed adapt and follow what their surroundings are doing.

From these many similar studies, the one conclusion that we can draw is that children do not create these biased opinions on their own. Their interpretation of what is "good" from what is "bad" comes from society, itself. Adults play a vital factor in how children will act since it is clear that even their minor facial expressions create a complete concept of what is morally right. A diverse community is what is needed for the future. If we want equality and if we want children to not make their own racial hierarchy, we must have everyone treated the same.

SlicedBread
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 12

Originally posted by jellybeans101 on October 13, 2021 11:21

In Bloom's article we see how babies have an expectation as to how objects or people should behave. Babies don't have the predetermined expedition of beliefs and desire but the concept of push and pull. The experience shows children prefer people who act the same way as then, have the same shirt, or speak the same language. The goes hand in hand with the idea that being similar is being "nice." The article is kinda of contradicting to the doll study in which kids of color pointed out themselves to be a "mean kid". Which makes me wonder if was the reasoning the doll test got different results was because they were older? The gap of ages between the 1 year olds and preschools is not too far from each other. If they are not charactering people from behavior in preschool where are they learning this from?

I also found this idea of preferring people who are similar, but the children of color still preferring white dolls to be interesting. It definitely shows that there is something larger at play when it comes to racial preference. It seems to be much more than just an us vs them mentality that we were talking about earlier in class.

strawberry123
Chestnut Hill, MA, US
Posts: 12

Originally posted by watermelon2 on October 12, 2021 20:24

All of these different studies showed that prejudice and bias are developed from a young age. Paul Bloom’s article offered a lot of explanation that helps in understanding why children have these biased preferences and opinions. Bloom explains that babies are a lot smarter and aware of what’s happening around them than we think that they are. This sense of awareness even amongst babies shows just how much the views of children can be affected. Although people once thought that your prejudice didn’t develop until later on in life, Bloom’s article counters this. In one of his studies, he shows that babies are drawn to the “nice guy” while often avoiding the “bad guy.” This can be applied to the racial bias developed amongst children, because, similarly, with race, babies and young children are trained to believe that white people are the “nice guys,” therefore susceptible to bias. In Bloom’s study, the babies’ opinions that made them see certain people as the “nice guys” were from the previous information he gave them. Similarly, when it comes to race, there is tons of information babies are being given and learning from. This information that they are learning and adapting to all comes from the experiences in their environment, which gives them a bias to believe that people of color or the “bad guys” and white people are the “good guys.”


The information that children pick up from their environment comes in many different forms. Practically everything around a child has an influence that affects their racial bias. These physical things include their family and the media. The information that a child’s parents and other adults they look up to in their life give them is the most influential information affecting their beliefs. The problem, which we talked about in class, is that their parents also grew up unconsciously (or consciously) influenced by racial bias. Therefore, this creates a cycle, where generations will continue to pass on racial preferences to one another. The media, including television, commercials, celebrities, etc., is also a huge part in explaining why the children feel the way they do about race. All these different forms of media are filled with predominantly white people, which puts out a message that being white is considered normal and expected. Therefore, it makes children influenced by the media feel isolated or ashamed if they aren’t white since everyone they are interacting with through media is white. Additionally, the fact that so many of the celebrities portrayed in the media are white contributes to children looking down on darker skin colors. If all the people they look up to have light skin, this leads them to associate whiteness as being favorable.


Just like how a lack of celebrities of color influences children’s beliefs of race and preferred skin color, similarly, a lack of people of color in positions of power also influences their beliefs. The fact that the people in power and holding high and positive-associated positions are predominantly white sends out a message to children of color that they aren’t meant to be in those positions. It causes them to devalue their potential and associate success and fame with being white. As a person of color myself, when I was younger, I often felt like there were certain jobs I was destined to go into and others where I simply wouldn’t belong. I had trouble seeing myself in certain fields because I would look into them and see that they weren’t led and run by people that looked like me. This contributes to an idea that Banaji’s study touched on, which is that a lack of diversity is an explanation for racial preferences. The fact that we are still living in such a racially segregated country allows for these barriers and divisions to be made, therefore leading to racial preferences. Banaji explains that “even a child whose parents make no conscious effort to teach [him] not to be prejudiced can shed that prejudice if he finds himself in a diverse enough place.” If children grow up in a diverse environment with little racial bias influencing their beliefs, they would most likely have less racial preferences. But if children grow up in a place where there is racial diversity and they feel loved for who they are, their racially biased views will change.

I completely agree with your idea that children need a diverse environment in order to have fewer racial preferences. A diverse society would also mean that similarities beyond race will be shared among adolescents which will break the awful cycle of similar race=good person.

strawberry123
Chestnut Hill, MA, US
Posts: 12

Originally posted by SlicedBread on October 13, 2021 22:47

Children’s views on what is moral or immoral, good or bad, desirable or undesirable mostly come from the environment/culture they grew up in. In Paul Bloom’s article about morality in children he was able to figure out that kids did have an innate idea of morality, but what was considered moral or immoral to them was determined by the world around them: “toddlers have a mental model not merely of the world but of the world as understood by someone else.” Children, especially at a very young age, consider things to be good or bad based more on other people’s input and less on their own, since they haven’t started thinking too much for themselves quite yet or developed the “filter” we were talking about in class. It’s because of this, that the biases children have are very reflective of the world around them. That said, as mentioned in Mahzarin Banji’s article, while children are able to pick up on biases very quickly, they are also able to unlearn or lessen as they age and are put into environments where different groups of people are seen as equals.


So, if what Bloom says is true, “much of the morality that humans possess is a consequence of the culture in which they are raised, not their innate capacities”, why do children have racial preferences at such a young age? Because they are taught and brought up in a culture that does. Specifically when it comes to media you will much more easily find white people in tv, film, news networks etc., than a person of color. This also extends to representation in government, and many other work industries. In addition, when there are people of color in media they are often characterized to fit a certain stereotype, and when children see this over and over again they start to internalize this and believe it to be true, especially if this is the only impression they have of a certain group of people. This is where implicit biases start to grow within people that they might not even know they have. One might think that racial preference comes down to an us vs them mentality, where you are bound to prefer people of your own race. Granted, this may have somewhat of an impact, but there is certainly something bigger at play here considering that in both Clark and Cooper’s studies both black and white children had a racial preference for white children/dolls.

I like how you included children not having a "filter" which is mostly the reason why these studies are so reliable. If the doll study was taken by a more mature group, honest opinions would not have been involved which would corrupt the whole experiment.

SlicedBread
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 12

Originally posted by booksandcandles on October 13, 2021 19:32

Even if a parent isn't flat out telling their kid what to think, behaviors can be learned. Kids are incredibly perceptive and sort of like sponges, in the sense that they absorb whatever comes their way. Biases such as these are passed on in the same way; kids see the people around them behaving in certain ways, so they embody that.

Even though this seems to be a learn and be done situation, it's not. We all have biases, and we can't really change how we see the world. But we can work on recognizing our biases and reworking our mindset so we don't base anything on those biases. Children can do that too. I thought it was interesting how more of the older kids in Cooper's study were saying things like "I don't care what color you are," or "It only matters what's on the inside." Those things are learned as well. They probably come from a more welcoming and understanding environment, and if your environment is what shapes your values and beliefs, then the only solution is to create those environments.

I definitely agree that children are a lot more perceptive than adults might think as shown in the studies that we read. I also agree that everybody has biases, explicit or implicit, that we gain from our environments, usually at a young age. it's very important to acknowledge and be aware of these, and it's good to see that the older children are already starting to rethink these biases they have. I agree, creating a more inclusive environment is key.

pink12
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 12

What's Up with Racial Preference among children?

As shown through the study that was conducted among children, they all agreed that they preferred lighter skin to darker skin. This shows how although children might not be as educated at such a young age, they are educated by the things they hear and see around them. You may think that the color of your skin at such a young age isn't really thought about, but all the children in this study were quick to choose the lighter skin over darker. Even the children with darker skin were quick to choose that they wanted lighter skin, which I found very interesting. In Bloom's article it states how children seemed to "like" other kids that looked the same as them, and felt more of a connection with them. Now the kids at an older age were more educated than the younger children. Some of them choose to say that they were all equal, instead of simply pointing to an option. This shows that they have grown and understood racial bias, even with that small age gap of a preschooler to kindergartner. The environment that these kids grow up in impact their biases, and shows how kids who grow up in a lighter skin household need to do a better job at teaching their kids equality.

In the high school experiment, they thought that people of the same race or who looked the most alike primarily based on skin color, would show the most similar dna. This experiment proved them wrong and actually showed how even people of different races can have the same dna traits/sequences. Some of the highschoolers who guessed someone who would be the most different from them, actually ended up having their data show that they were in fact the most similar. This experiment shows how skin color and looks don't completely determine how similar two individuals are.
pink12
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 12

Originally posted by strawberry123 on October 13, 2021 22:49

Is racism something that you're born into? Is it a behavior that is taught by one's surroundings? How can we prevent future generations from prejudice and bias ideologies? These are all questions that remain partially unanswered by many psychologists and anthropologists. If we focus on adolescents, many studies have found biased preferences and opinions when it comes to questions about race. In Paul Bloom's New York Times article, "The Moral Life of Babies", there is strong growing evidence that socialization is critically important. Bloom emphasizes the idea that babies do not have preexisting beliefs on a subject deeply complex as the classification of a so-called superior race. In his "Nice Babies" section of the article, he elaborates that similar behavior is ranked as "nice" behavior by children. This ties into the doll study in which foreshadows this issue that children have between being able to disconnect similar attributes from "good" ones.

Mahzarin Banaji, a renowned Harvard University psychologist, brain researcher, and racism and physical prejudice expert, also researched children's biased and shocking opinions in a study that prompted young children to draw the faces of certain races -- black, white, and Asian. Here, he was able to include that children process information depending on how adults react. In a way, children reflect adults' internal and external racism through their facial expressions: frowning means angry, and smiling means happy. From this, the varying drawings of white people were described in a positive way whereas Asian and black faces were rather negative. This shows that children do indeed adapt and follow what their surroundings are doing.

From these many similar studies, the one conclusion that we can draw is that children do not create these biased opinions on their own. Their interpretation of what is "good" from what is "bad" comes from society, itself. Adults play a vital factor in how children will act since it is clear that even their minor facial expressions create a complete concept of what is morally right. A diverse community is what is needed for the future. If we want equality and if we want children to not make their own racial hierarchy, we must have everyone treated the same.

I agree with how you stated that adults are the factors behind children's thoughts on biased opinions. We as a generation need to do better and raise our kids by teaching them that everyone is equal and that everyone should be treated the same.

facingstudent8
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 12

What's Up with Racial Preference Among Children?

Children and especially the minds of children are quite interesting and while we can’t know for certain why children feel the way they do we have some trustworthy scientific evidence on the topic. From research and personal observations we know that children are greatly influenced by their surroundings and absorb everything they see. This showed to be especially true with the doll study since kids aren’t born thinking this way it has to be learned behavior. Bloom’s article offered some really interesting insight into the science of babies psychology. I found it most interesting when he talked about how “babies can do rudimentary math with objects” and that “babies have expectations about how objects should behave” (Bloom3-4). Bloom goes on to explain that babies are surprised when 2 objects are shown then after a curtain falls there are 3 objects. I found this especially interesting because as Bloom mentioned this completely alters our previous notions that babies don’t know anything. Bloom also mentioned that babies have an “awareness of someone else’s pain” and that there “seems to be something evolutionarily ancient to this empathetic response”(Bloom 6). The notion that the way children act is due to an evolutionary trait is interesting but it feels incomplete because while that could be part of the reason much of human behavior still seems to be learned. Bloom also mentions a study concerning baby morality which concluded that babies preferred helpful individuals and I wonder if that has any correlation to babies requiring a lot of help in order to survive.

Banaji also presents interesting evidence about race preferences learned in early childhood. I also didn’t know before and found it surprising that people thought that any notions about race weren’t really thought about until teenage years. This was surprising because it seems so obvious how race is such an important part of our lives from an early age how can we not have solidified opinions on it. Also the fact that in the study the children regarded the “inconclusive” or “mixed” individual as black was really interesting and reminded me of the one drop rule that if you have even a drop of black blood in you then you are black. This rule was used widely in the south to maximize the amount of people to be oppressed. But it is interesting how children have internalized this and identified anything “ambiguous” as black. I also appreciated Banaji’s optimism at the end of the article that with proper teaching and good influences these biases in children can be eliminated (I do realize that is an oversimplification).

All of this was extremely interesting to learn about and all three sources and even Cooper’s video were all very telling of our current position on race in America and the effect on this generation and the next ones it will have.

pink12
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 12

Originally posted by user01135 on October 13, 2021 22:27

Children's behavior is learned at a very young age. Because of this, it is very easy for children to learn to be biased and racist at a young age. Bloom's article teaches us that babies are very aware and can easily pick up biased ideas and characteristics from family members. Babies don't have a sense of what is right and what is wrong, they just copy what others do.

You can see this idea in Andersen Cooper's video. The younger group of kids were quick to respond to the questions with bias. These kids have no idea that what they are saying is wrong they just know it is all they have been taught. It is possible that children taught these things at a young age will never outgrow them and will grow up to join extremist groups who cause terror on the world like the groups we talked about in class the other day. It is also possible that children outgrow these ideas. Some of the older kids took the time to say that it does not matter what color someone is and that all people can be just as smart.

James Burnett talks about these possibilities. He talks about how things can change. He talks about how it is easier to teach someone who grows up with the right morals how to be a good person than someone who grows up biased. Everyone has grown up and been taught something biased, but there is always a solution to the problem. People can work on realizing when they are biased and wrong and fixing their ideas, while working on learning how to teach young children good morals. If the environment outside every babies eyes is unbiased, then the problem does not exist.

I agree and to add on especially when children learn something at a young age it tends to stick with them, causing it to become difficult to change their views. Especially with babies I like how you stated that they don't know right from wrong and they will simply just follow or copy others. This is where we need to start teaching chldren at a young age that everyone is equal.

facingstudent8
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 12

Originally posted by strawberry123 on October 13, 2021 22:49

Is racism something that you're born into? Is it a behavior that is taught by one's surroundings? How can we prevent future generations from prejudice and bias ideologies? These are all questions that remain partially unanswered by many psychologists and anthropologists. If we focus on adolescents, many studies have found biased preferences and opinions when it comes to questions about race. In Paul Bloom's New York Times article, "The Moral Life of Babies", there is strong growing evidence that socialization is critically important. Bloom emphasizes the idea that babies do not have preexisting beliefs on a subject deeply complex as the classification of a so-called superior race. In his "Nice Babies" section of the article, he elaborates that similar behavior is ranked as "nice" behavior by children. This ties into the doll study in which foreshadows this issue that children have between being able to disconnect similar attributes from "good" ones.

Mahzarin Banaji, a renowned Harvard University psychologist, brain researcher, and racism and physical prejudice expert, also researched children's biased and shocking opinions in a study that prompted young children to draw the faces of certain races -- black, white, and Asian. Here, he was able to include that children process information depending on how adults react. In a way, children reflect adults' internal and external racism through their facial expressions: frowning means angry, and smiling means happy. From this, the varying drawings of white people were described in a positive way whereas Asian and black faces were rather negative. This shows that children do indeed adapt and follow what their surroundings are doing.

From these many similar studies, the one conclusion that we can draw is that children do not create these biased opinions on their own. Their interpretation of what is "good" from what is "bad" comes from society, itself. Adults play a vital factor in how children will act since it is clear that even their minor facial expressions create a complete concept of what is morally right. A diverse community is what is needed for the future. If we want equality and if we want children to not make their own racial hierarchy, we must have everyone treated the same.

I like what you said about how adults play a vital role in how children act and I completely agree. I don't fully realize how much my parents influence my way of thinking until I realize that I can hear their voice in my head or I am told that something I said is "exactly what your mother would say".

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