Children feel the way they do because of the environment around them, which has a great affect on their upbringing both consciously and unconsciously. As Paul Blooms article mentions, we spend a lot of our mental energy and innate moral skeleton as children not for doing good but just for learning about the world around us. As children, we take in every detail about our environment, and learn faster than we do at any other time in our life. Our little spongy brains take in and learn from countless stimuli, whether or not the parents intended it or not. Paul Blooms studies describe how babies have a rudimentary moral code, mostly because it is an evolutionary advantage. This rudimentary moral code is then connected and applied in the real world the more the babies experience everyday.
So how does this innate morality begin to connect to raism in the real world? Banaji’s research helps us understand this. She tells us that as kids go through early childhood, “environment begins to play a tremendous role in how they perceive in-group and out-group people - people who look like them, and people who do not,’’ allowing us to understand the us and them mnetality that begins to form during childhood. This allows us to understand the results of kids wanting a doll that looks like them, outlined in the Kenneth and Mamie Clark doll study. This, along with how Paul Bloom mentioned the tendency of babies to enjoy/feel safer with groups similar to them (not specifically racially though! They enjoyed similarity in the most arbitrary of things, like having the same tase in food, or even having the same colored T-shirt), allows us to understand that at an early age, we begin to connect our feelings of in groups and out groups, to the rudimentary outlines of morality that we have had since we were babies. We perceive that those similar to us must be acting with better intentions, and vice versa.
This early developed “in-group and out-group” is only a part of the equation though. Equally, if not more important, are the subconscious factors found in too many places in our world, that seem to imply the “lesser” nature of people of color. These messages are riddled throughout our societiy’s fabric, and can unfortunately deeply affect the learning process a child has from observing their outside environment. When we are presented with ads encouraging people to whiten their skin, or portraying whiter as more beautiful, we unconsciously teach very impressionable children the same thing. This applies for other unconscious or conscious messages of bias in our society and upbrining, from how we talk about white vs. people of color, and even what groups we spend the most time with. Our society unquestionably treated people of color with less dignity and respect, and as the most impressionable stage of human life, it is no wonder that babies and children are perspective of this bias, and learn to emulate it. The way to stop this therefore, is fixing our own implicit biases, and the messages we send throughout or society, because only then will children stop internalizing this hate.