posts 16 - 30 of 37
Kazuma
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 8

What’s Up with Racial Preference among Children?

I believe that babies don't come out of the womb with racial preferences. While this is pretty much obvious, I think it's an important reminded when talking about children so young. Mahzarin Banaji's research is the most helpful for me personally when examining children and race. I believe that it shows that children are very easily influenced by their surroundings. As we saw in Paul Bloom's article, babies come out with somewhat of a sense of right and wrong. It isn't the most complete sense of right and wrong, but it is there. This sense of right and wrong has nothing to do with race. When babies come out, they view people as people and objects as objects. What Banaji's research shows us, however, is that children pick up on racial biases extremely early and at an alarming speed. This means they are picking up on them from their parents or families. I think Anderson Cooper's video is a great example of how much kids pick up on how adults feel and what they do. Once again, Banaji's research is a dim light in the shadows as it shows us that these biases among young children can be shed as they grow older. This just goes to show that all hope isn't lost when it comes to erasing biases amongst young children.

Kazuma
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 8

Originally posted by pseudonym on October 13, 2021 20:22

The documentary shows us and explains how children tend to interpret race the way that they are taught. Since it's a child you don't have a strong opinion of yourself because you haven't experienced the world yet, your ideas are strongly influenced by your parents and the environment around you. Paul Bloom tells us about how babies seem more careless than they actually are. This sparks the idea of why they tend to notice colors for example and favor one over the other. Something that was very interesting to me was the study on how kids from the north and kids from the south tend to differ in their answers about race. This example supports the statement that northern schools and environments tend to be less segregated than the south. This is not to say that the north is perfect but it shows how people are more educated. Mahzarin Banajis’s research suggests that children know more about race more than we think. They understand the difference between a person who is lighter and a person who is darker. This makes me believe that it truly is the influence of who you are raised by that engraves the way you think. With this being said, it truly is important in my opinion on educating your children to have an open mind in order for them to have the freedom of changing their opinions later in life. Many children feel the pressure to always think the way they were taught but with experiences lived by you and not others, you learn much more.

I completely agree with you when you say that it is important that we educate our young children. I think that they look to us for how they should act and what type of adults they want to become. It is about more than just setting an example, but setting up a future where we can get closer and closer to no bias.

Kazuma
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 8

Originally posted by redemmed2021 on October 13, 2021 20:31

The way children feel about race involves many aspects. I don't really think there is one clear cut answer. Bloom's article states how when babies are born they have a simple sense of morals and a simple way of categorizing good vs bad. Bloom also makes it clear that children pick up on behavioral patterns and learn to expect them. Here is where I think the influence of the parents and surroundings play a big role. If a baby's parents were giving certain negative reactions to a specific race they would categorize people that look like that to be bad. These categorizations can begin to stay with them. As mentioned before another reason why there may be some racial preference is because of the environment. In the doll study we learn about the white doll is categorized by many of the colored and negro children as their prefered color, or the nice doll. In the study they also recorded the difference between the north and the south. The kids in the south who went to segregated schools most likely received some bad treatment given the time period. To add on they are only around people that look like them and because of this they categorize themselves and form a group. As the children are watching their surroundings they see how the white children are treated better than they are, and because they have some type of understanding of good and bad they conclude that the white/ lighter skinned children are good. Children know that people that are treated well are most likely nice people so that could be why they feel the way they do about race. The colored/Negro children want to people treated nicely and fairly so thy would prefer to be that race. To add on becasue of segregation and slavery the US estbalsihed the idea of race, and from the video we see that there is no genetic marker for race. From this the children start to focus on how they would be categorized and how other kids are categorized


I hadn't thought to bring up the fact that there is no genetic marker for race. I feel that it is something all students should learn from a young age. To be taught that there is no real difference between them and a student with a different skin color.

loveholic
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 6

How Children Perceive Race

I absolutely think that racism and biases in young children is a product of their environment, their parents, and the types of things that they saw when they were developing and learning about the world. If a child grows up in a place that is a predominant area of one race, that is who they will see the most and connect to the most. They get used to this, and that causes them to notice differences a lot more when introduced to someone of another race. If parents don't teach their kids that everyone is equal or that they should treat everyone the same despite these differences, that is where the biases come in and this is what kids will pick up on. Representation in the media as well is a big part of this, because if kids are shown negative things about one race or stereotypical things, they will believe it and grow up thinking that is the truth. In the studies, most of the kids associated negative questions with the darker skin child. This is most definitely a result of things they have been exposed to as well as what their parents may have told them. Also, generational trauma is a very real thing and ideas that were prevalent in their grandparents' day or other relatives can be somehow passed down and remembered. Things such as slavery and the Civil Rights movement have impacted society greatly, and there are still elements of it in today's country. Especially in certain areas of the US where kids are being taught the wrong parts of history and learning false information, there is a divide in the way that we view race and things that have happened because of it.
loveholic
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 6

Originally posted by 9oclock on October 13, 2021 16:32

The age old saying - children’s are sponges!

As Paul Bloom describes, children pick up on behavioral patterns and learn to expect them. This means that children’s morals are formed by the morals held in their surroundings. The differences in result in the Doll Experiment between kids in the North and the South support this. There was less of a white preference in the Northern kids, though the white preference was still strong. This can be explained by the integrated schooling and dominant progressive ideological culture in the North - in comparison to the segregated schooling and dominant conservative ideological culture in the south. Children will pick up on biased habits of treating/ referring t individuals of a race- whether it be the behavior of people around them or a negative portrayal of a race on public media. For babies’ ability to equate social dynamics on television to social dynamics in real life were broadcasted in an experiment in Paul Bloom’s article.


I definitely agree with the "children are sponges" statement because they learn a lot in their developmental stages and the information they are given and the things they are shown at that age really influence how they see the world and how their idea of race begins.

loveholic
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 6

Originally posted by Kazuma on October 13, 2021 22:09

I believe that babies don't come out of the womb with racial preferences. While this is pretty much obvious, I think it's an important reminded when talking about children so young. Mahzarin Banaji's research is the most helpful for me personally when examining children and race. I believe that it shows that children are very easily influenced by their surroundings. As we saw in Paul Bloom's article, babies come out with somewhat of a sense of right and wrong. It isn't the most complete sense of right and wrong, but it is there. This sense of right and wrong has nothing to do with race. When babies come out, they view people as people and objects as objects. What Banaji's research shows us, however, is that children pick up on racial biases extremely early and at an alarming speed. This means they are picking up on them from their parents or families. I think Anderson Cooper's video is a great example of how much kids pick up on how adults feel and what they do. Once again, Banaji's research is a dim light in the shadows as it shows us that these biases among young children can be shed as they grow older. This just goes to show that all hope isn't lost when it comes to erasing biases amongst young children.

The last statement, "Banaji's research is a dim light in the shadows..." is a perfect way to describe the studies. It brings hope to those who want to see change in the new generations, and that we can easily teach them right from wrong instead of showing them bias and hate towards other people.

saucymango
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 11

Environment and Education

However concerning and disheartening it was to see young children accept racist views as normal, it is our reality, and the two articles are quite helpful in understanding why our reality is like this. When young children, especially white children, learn about race, they aren't taught how to differentiate certain races, but rather to separate those that belong and do not belong in the same racial group as them. Ultimately, this creates the phenomenon where we are willing to treat each other with different moral values that we supposedly all possess from a young age (as we know from Paul Bloom’s metastudy). Thus, the studies outline two major factors behind how children learn about race — environment and education.


First, the environment includes your parents, your general community, media and more. All of these influences will help children form racist beliefs as long as they are exposed to it. In fact, Mahzarin Banaji quantifies that children as young as 3 begin to accept and embrace racism. Thus, simply by existing in certain spaces and without any directions, children pick up on these notions. Second, one’s education has many overlaps with their environment, in that it also includes parents and their community, but also teachers and their own research. These are the more explicit ideologies that children are taught, for example, their parents might tell children that a certain race is more dangerous, violent or manipulative.


With this in mind, our response to this issue as suggested by the two articles is two-pronged. Banaji’s study shows that around age 10, kids start to formulate their own moral beliefs. These are more advanced than general morals such as violence is bad, thus it is a critical age for kids to either be exposed to a certain environment or educated in a certain way. By living in a more diverse community, both in general demographics and reflected at different levels of power, children can shed their racial biases. However, our reality is that many communities are not racially diverse, thus this is where education comes in. We must proactively teach the new generation the harms of racism to others and themselves. By guiding their journeys in constructing their moral code, it can lead them to be willing to diversify their own networks and community.


Honestly though, I feel as though everything I proposed here is rather superficial and gives the impression that we can simply just “increase diversity,” which is something that very impressive people have been working on for decades and are still facing difficulties in. There isn't really a blanket statement or program that can simply wipe out racism.

saucymango
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 11

Originally posted by hotchocolate on October 13, 2021 18:50

Originally posted by Lion03 on October 13, 2021 12:02

Another factor that I think is possible to affect children's views of race is different forms of media. As a child watching Disney Channel, it was clear to me that all the main characters were white. Similar to picture books where the characters were also white. If a child sees that the hero of almost all children's stories are white, than they will associate white with good qualities. We saw this in the video on Tuesday when children pointed to the “good” and “bad” children. It is a matter of representation and how it can effect racial bias’ with children that don't quite understand these complicated societal issues.

I definitely agree that representation or lack thereof and what parents expose their children to are major factors in children developing their own bias and set of beliefs. It's interesting that we are so dependent on our parents and role models in general for their reactions and own beliefs but as we get older, we take what we know and grow from that as more independent young people open to changing our long held beliefs. What we're fed constantly through media often celebrates white people above people of color like how I love Pinterest for inspiration and only see white people. Sometimes I look for hairstyles and have to write "asian" after it so I can see someone "like me" represented.

I agree with hotchocolate as to greater media presence of white accomplishments to accomplishments of people of color. However, I think in tandem to this, on the media portrayal of people of color, it tends to focus on their pains and struggles instead of their joys and accomplishments. Even films that are supposed to be about the accomplishments of people of color, like Hidden Figures, still focuses heavily on the racism that the three women faced and includes characters with heavy white savior complexes.

YellowPencil
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 9

What’s Up with Racial Preference among Children?

Like how we discussed in class on Tuesday, the environment highly affects the growth and views of children. In Paul Bloom's article, babies are shown to have a rich understanding of objects and people. Babies develop mental models of not only the physical world, like expectations of what objects can or can't do(like objects floating midair) but also of mental models of others(like knowing what others would expect). One reason presented to why babies don't act on their understanding is that when babies are young they use their brains to acquire knowledge rather than to use it. According to the study of AI, "an empty head learns nothing: a system that is capable of rapidly absorbing information needs to have some prewired understanding of what to pay attention to and what generalizations to make." Babies are very similar to a learning AI system. If a baby’s environment informs the baby that whites are better than Blacks, it would take it in. It could be subtle like noticing from adults that when associating with a Black child, they gain a negative response like maybe disapproving facial expression. The child would then categorize Black as bad. And every time a negative response is given to the child when associating with a Black child, the categorization is reinforced. In Mahzarin Banaji's study, white children identify white faces as always smiling(even when they are frowning) and other faces as angry no matter the facial expression. Black children on the other hand showed no bias. This could maybe be explained by maybe the limited data set in white children compared to Black. White children may accept the general societal biases easier without questioning than Blacks, because Black children also have their family and surroundings to make their conclusions in mental models of people. In Paul Bloom’s Moral-Baby Experiment, babies are shown shapes that interact with each other. They were shown two scenarios, one where a shape helps another and another where one shape hindered the movement of another. And later when given shapes are given to the babies, they show preference to the helper shapes. During the experiment, colors were changed to make sure that they didn’t play a role. This supports that babies don’t biologically discriminate and have a preference for color, but rather a preference for moral behavior. This also means that preferences for specific skin color is a learned behavior. In summary, children’s views on skin color are environmental and not biological. Like an AI system, they only take in what they see. Racial preferences are formed from what the environment informs, and children would just assume they are true. In order to counter preexisting biases, we as a society have to interact more between races and have discussions on these issues so that children wouldn't just automatically believe in them.
saucymango
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 11

Originally posted by redemmed2021 on October 13, 2021 20:31

To add on they are only around people that look like them and because of this they categorize themselves and form a group. As the children are watching their surroundings they see how the white children are treated better than they are, and because they have some type of understanding of good and bad they conclude that the white/ lighter skinned children are good. Children know that people that are treated well are most likely nice people so that could be why they feel the way they do about race. The colored/Negro children want to people treated nicely and fairly so thy would prefer to be that race. To add on becasue of segregation and slavery the US estbalsihed the idea of race, and from the video we see that there is no genetic marker for race. From this the children start to focus on how they would be categorized and how other kids are categorized


Post your response here.

1) I like how you tied the morality article into how children learn about racism because white people are treated better, they must be "better people." However, the normal perspective is that white people are better thus they are treated better.

2) I would contest that the idea of race was established prior to segregation and slavery, since the idea of race needed to exist to justify racial segregation and the enslavement of African Americans.

pinkskittles
boston , Massachusetts, US
Posts: 7

What's Up with Racial Preference among Children?

Well, from Bloom's article about babies, we know that babies when they come out of the womb do not know what race is, and that the way they do look at races is in the parent/guardians hands. I think there are a lot of different factors on where kids get their certain views of "race" from, a lot being society and what is broadcasted to them, such as the news, different TV shows, and where they grow up. A place with more diversity tends to be more educated, and due to people being more educated, they don't see certain races the way uneducated people would. Also, when we look at what Mahzarin Banaji was talking about, kids learn about racism and decide what they want to do with that information, which is also probably influenced by a numerous amount of things. I also think the doll experiment was very interesting, because it did in fact show that there was a distinction between what the kids thought of people with lighter skin tones vs. people with darker skin tones. It shows that kids do have an idea on discrimination and have an idea of what "race" is. Overall, I think the parents are a big part of the children's opinion.

YellowPencil
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 9

Originally posted by Kazuma on October 13, 2021 22:09

I believe that babies don't come out of the womb with racial preferences. While this is pretty much obvious, I think it's an important reminded when talking about children so young. Mahzarin Banaji's research is the most helpful for me personally when examining children and race. I believe that it shows that children are very easily influenced by their surroundings. As we saw in Paul Bloom's article, babies come out with somewhat of a sense of right and wrong. It isn't the most complete sense of right and wrong, but it is there. This sense of right and wrong has nothing to do with race. When babies come out, they view people as people and objects as objects. What Banaji's research shows us, however, is that children pick up on racial biases extremely early and at an alarming speed. This means they are picking up on them from their parents or families. I think Anderson Cooper's video is a great example of how much kids pick up on how adults feel and what they do. Once again, Banaji's research is a dim light in the shadows as it shows us that these biases among young children can be shed as they grow older. This just goes to show that all hope isn't lost when it comes to erasing biases amongst young children.

I agree that children pick up from their parents and families, because as you said racial biases come rapidly and at a very young age. I'm hopeful for future generation because racial biases is changing in our generation as we are opening up more discussion about race.

YellowPencil
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 9

Originally posted by 9oclock on October 13, 2021 16:32

The age old saying - children’s are sponges!

As Paul Bloom describes, children pick up on behavioral patterns and learn to expect them. This means that children’s morals are formed by the morals held in their surroundings. The differences in result in the Doll Experiment between kids in the North and the South support this. There was less of a white preference in the Northern kids, though the white preference was still strong. This can be explained by the integrated schooling and dominant progressive ideological culture in the North - in comparison to the segregated schooling and dominant conservative ideological culture in the south. Children will pick up on biased habits of treating/ referring t individuals of a race- whether it be the behavior of people around them or a negative portrayal of a race on public media. For babies’ ability to equate social dynamics on television to social dynamics in real life were broadcasted in an experiment in Paul Bloom’s article.


I would also like to add that children, as part of their development, mimic their parent's behaviors. They don't reason why their parents think in a certain way or why they behave negatively towards a certain race. That means that children just assumes that if someone else does something it they can do it too since they can't think for themselves.

niall5
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 10

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.

niall5
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 10

Originally posted by 9oclock on October 13, 2021 16:32

The age old saying - children’s are sponges!

As Paul Bloom describes, children pick up on behavioral patterns and learn to expect them. This means that children’s morals are formed by the morals held in their surroundings. The differences in result in the Doll Experiment between kids in the North and the South support this. There was less of a white preference in the Northern kids, though the white preference was still strong. This can be explained by the integrated schooling and dominant progressive ideological culture in the North - in comparison to the segregated schooling and dominant conservative ideological culture in the south. Children will pick up on biased habits of treating/ referring t individuals of a race- whether it be the behavior of people around them or a negative portrayal of a race on public media. For babies’ ability to equate social dynamics on television to social dynamics in real life were broadcasted in an experiment in Paul Bloom’s article.


I like how you included the phrase children are sponges! I totally agree, and I think this is the most important factor in their learned behavior. Picking up information from the outside world is the most significant factor in a child's development.

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