Boston, Massachusetts, US
What’s Up with Racial Preference among Children? Response
Originally posted by
turtle17 on October 13, 2021 09:37
"Another possibility is that babies do, in fact, use their knowledge from Day 1, not for action but for learning". Bloom's research was already extremely interesting, but to me, this quote just stuck out. It made me think about the studies shown in the videos watched in class on Tuesday. In the videos, researches continuously saw young children answering questions relating to skin color of dolls, and most of the answers favored the dolls with lighter tones, even answers from black children. But how does Bloom's research connect to this? It's actually pretty simple, these children were able to repeatedly learn about preferences surrounding skin tones by watching. People always state to watch your language around a baby, when they are learning to speak, but they never think about watching actions as well. Bloom proves that kids have literally been able to seen racial preference from the day that they were born, and they have grown up thinking that it was normal.
Something I also saw in the Anderson Cooper Video was the desire to be white, held by many Black Children, and it was extremely upsetting to see. Because these children have grown up with this mindset about being better or worse, it really affects how they see themselves. Not only does this emphasize the problems of racism that are ingrained in our society, but it also shows the severity of them, and how people are becoming uncomfortable and unhappy with themselves.
I agree that the views held by the Black children in this study are very sad. It definitely shows that society in ingrained with racism, that every aspect of our society has racism held close to it. The issues of racism are so pronounced in this society that even small children become biased against themselves and their own race. It's very sad to see.
Boston, Massachusetts , US
What’s up with racial preference among children?
My impression after reading the articles and watching the clips is that the main factors in racial bias in children are exposure and the ways in which their parents speak to them about people who are a different race from them. Kids often take in more information than adults think, and they may internalize things more easily than adults. For example, kids are exposed to a lot of media, whether this be books, movies, TV shows, or other things, and the subtle messaging in these forms of media can form biases in children. If they only see white protagonists, they might feel like white children are somehow better than Black children. Kids seem to subconsciously notice the lack of diverse representation in media and form opinions based on that. In the doll study, most of the Black children children would prefer to play with the white doll, likely because they had been exposed to the idea that white people were better. One of the videos also said that kids in a majority white school were much more likely to be negative about the idea of interracial friendships than kids in more diverse schools, possibly because they hadn’t had many interracial friendships through school.
Parents have a strong effect on the way children view people of different races, even if their parents don’t realize that they are doing anything to alter their children’s perceptions of others. Several of the sources talked about how white parents don’t discuss race with their children as often as Black parents do, so white children usually don’t have their biases challenged. One parent’s reaction to her (white) daughter’s responses to the questions— she clearly showed a preference for lighter skin tones. Her mother was very upset about this, and she thought it could be because her daughter hadn’t been exposed to enough people of color, and that she chose people who look like her because she wanted to be the “good child”. The biggest thing that stood out to me in this mother’s response, however, was that they had never really talked about race. Because this girl had never had conversations with the people around her with race, she had nothing to tell her that her that people who looked different from her were not bad. This is a contrast to the Black child who, when asked what skin color she would rather have, said she loved the way she looked, and when asked about which skin color teachers like best, she said teachers don’t care. Her father reacted to her responses and said that he had taught her that. Other sources also said that Black families seemed to have more conversations about race with their kids, while white families are either uncomfortable, or think that children are color blind, or just don’t realize the importance. However, these studies show the importance of having conversations about race with children.
Boston, Massachusetts , US
Originally posted by
giraffes12 on October 12, 2021 22:23
Children feel this way because of the society that they were raised in. Every small aspect of children's lives in this country has some incorporation of race in it; for example the dolls that they play with, who their parents bring to their house, who they grow up with, listening to their parents talk. A lot of it is subtle, most parents probably don't even know that they're teaching their children implicit bias. Paul Bloom's article was very interesting, because it showed that babies actually do have some sense of morality. I think this shows us that racism is a learned behavior, that we are not born with bias. Babies are born ignorant and moral, and as they grow older in this society that changes. Mahzarin Banaji’s research is very helpful with this question, because it shows us that implicit bias is real, that we learn this bias through subtle signs from our parents and the society we live in. In the Anderson Cooper video, young children almost always identified the picture of the child with darker skin as "bad" and the picture of the child with lighter skin as "good." Even if the children played with other children that didn't look like them, they still had a bias against them. This is because they have learned it. I wonder if the morality that Bloom found in babies stays prevalent throughout dealing with these issues, do white children still maintain morality when it comes to race? The other studies seem to say "no" to this question. Although in the Anderson Cooper video, when older children were asked about race they had more progressive views, especially if they went to school in a diverse setting. So do they get that morality back? And when? This is all very interesting, and I would love to learn more about it.
I was also thinking about how parents often unknowingly instill racial biases in their children. It’s also important to note that babies do have a sense of morality, that racism is a learned behavior, but babies also do tend to naturally gravitate towards people who look the most like them, even if this just means the same colored shirt. I think what’s important is to make sure that they are exposed to people who are different so they can learn to accept and trust them as much as people who look more similar to them.
Boston, Massachusetts, US
What’s Up with Racial Preference among Children?
I do believe that the biggest reason why these kids answered this way is because of learned behavior and what groups they spend their time with. Not only can the children pick up the same mannerisms that their parents have, but they can pick up biases just based on who their friends and family are. If a child is surrounded by rascists, then it's likely that they'd show the same attitude, at least in the case of younger children. But even if someone just, say, has a white family and white friends, it's likely that they'd be biased against dark skin. The more interesting thing is the black children being largely biased against their own skin color. One cause of this is that the black children see more white people in places of authority, such as their teachers, people on TV and movies, cops and doctors, etc. Plus, the black children can pick up the biases from these authority figures, say if their teacher is slightly biased towards white kids. I do feel like this test was sort of like a trick, as it was made to be a test with no non-biased answers. Young children generally don't think outside the box very well, and they're much more likely to just give an answer that's on the paper, because to them, it's the only choice. If it was clearly stated that they didn't have to choose a skin tone, then a lot more children would've given that answer.
I did appreciate Bloom's experiment that removed race as a factor, giving all the kids different color shirts, as it sort of proved what I detailed in the first paragraph. Young children don't make their choices based on any advanced idea of races or genetics or whatever, they make it based on what they see. Banaji's study also shows that those who spend more time in a diverse school or friend group are generally more accepting towards other races. It is interesting that children are more perceptive than I realized, they can see and absorb a lot more about their surroundings than I expected.
What's Up with Racial Preference among Children?
@Sunshine says it best when they say “Children are like sponges. They pick up every piece of information that’s around them and they emulate behaviors of those around them”. I completely agree with this statement, as it is stated throughout the articles multiple times that children tend to be more perceptive than we think. Bloom cites evidence for this through the study done with the 3D shapes, in which children were shown one shape helping another up a hill, and another pushing that shape down the hill. Most of the children, when given the option, picked the shape that helped another up the hill, showing just how perceptive they are. While this study isn’t 100% foolproof, as the shapes were different colors and some infants may have simply been partial to one color over another, there have been multiple other studies similar to it-which Bloom presents- that proves this point.Most of us would not think that this would be the outcome of this study, because most of us are under the assumption that infants and young children don’t really pick up on much However, Bloom’s article proves this to be wrong with the mention of this study, along with many others. Therefore, children feel the way they do- and develop any sort of bias- as a result of their environment, and that influence begins much quicker than we think. As seen in the studies given by Bloom’s report, even infants are extremely perceptive. This is not simply to shapes and puppets, however- this is also to much more complex ideas, including racism. If the environment an infant grows up in is one is normalized and extremely evident, they will grow up with those beliefs. In America, as of right now, racism is everywhere and as a result, all infants grow up with a bias towards white- as clearly evidenced by Anderson Cooper’s study of children. It was quite shocking to especially see black children point to white children when prompted with the question “point to the nice child”, or “point to the good-looking child”, because one would think that a child would point to the picture that most resembles them in an attempt to paint themselves as good. This isn’t the case, however, and I 100% agree with @groot when they say that “It’s depressing to watch as the black children explain how aware they are about how different adults treat them vs. the white students”, because even at such a young age, black children are aware of the racism within our country, while white children are most likely not. In the same way, Banaji’s study was equally as shocking because even if those with non-white looking skin had a smile, they were more likely to be described as angry, or associated with negative emotions. This very clearly shows a white bias, but also that black children are much more aware of this bias than white children, which very much speaks to why racism is still so prominent within our society.