Boston, Massachusetts , US
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 think your point about paying attention to actions as well as language is really interesting. The things you expose young children to can very easily affect them. I was also upset by the way many Black children wanted to e white, because it shows how deeply racism affects everyone, even if adults don't really notice.
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Originally posted by
Sunshine on October 13, 2021 11:23
Children are like sponges. They pick up every piece of information that’s around them and they emulate behaviors of those around them. Even implications or things seen as “small” could impact a child. Children also tend to fixate on certain things which causes them to have misconstrued perceptions of things. On top of that, they also have no filter because they haven’t been able to decide if their behavior is right or wrong. This makes it extremely important for parents to talk with their children about race and tell them that everyone deserves to be treated the same and that no race is better than another.
The reasons behind children having racial bias from such a young age is solely because of their environment as Paul Bloom’s research clearly shows. No one is born racist or with bias. They pick up on anything their families might say about another race and internalize it. They look up to their parents and want to emulate them. Later, when kids go to school they meet new friends and want to emulate that behavior too, whether it’s right or wrong. They see it happening around them and automatically think that it’s okay or that it’s right. Another problem is the way that many schools have large majorities of some races. This makes some kids completely unaware about other peoples’ experiences that they wouldn’t have experienced on their own. Also, people of the same race tend to group together because they are familiar with each other. They feel safe in that group because they can relate on some sort of level. Many might be scared from what they grew up hearing about other races in their home to interact or be friends with other races. All of these combined contribute to racial bias and preference in children.
I like the sponge comparison, children are typically much better at learning different things than adults. Hence why it's much easier to, say, learn to ride a bike when you're younger, rather than when you're older. It makes sense that they would adopt biases from their environment in the same way.
Whats Up with Racial Preference among Children
One factor that went into the kids racial biases was their environment, at home and at school. Kids who attended more diverse schools were more positive about the relationship between white kids and black kids, while kids at mostly white schools were more pessimistic about these relationships. They were also asked what their parents would think of them being friends with or dating someone of the opposite race. Many of the kids said their parents would not approve which means in those households racism and racial biases are being taught and upheld. Paul Bloom's article offers the explanation that we all, from a young age, have had a sense of good vs bad. Babies in their study choose the helping character over the hindering character an overwhelming amount. Then babies chose to punish someone that was rewarding a bad guy, this showed that babies weren’t just attracted to positive actions, they had a sense of morality and opinions on good and bad characters in relation to justice. The babies did not have a preference of color or shape; they were only attracted to the moral good. This makes me think about how racism is taught, babies are born having a sense of supporting what is right and not supporting what is wrong. So when grown ups/people do bad things to good people for no reason we know it is wrong, if we choose to ignore it it is because we have been taught that for some reason morality doesn't matter. Another interesting thing about the doll study was that younger children choosing the nice colored doll chose more white dolls (58%) while older kids choosing the nice doll had an even choice of 36 of kids choosing the black doll and 36 choosing the white doll. My assumption is that as the kids got older they started to realize for themselves that there was no difference between the white and black dolls. They began to think and realize this for themselves and shed the racial biases that they had when they were younger due to their parents and their environment. The boston globe article supports this by telling us that yes young children have racial preferences but if they are put in diverse environments and experience interracial postive relationships and connections their racial biases will begin to shed.
Racial Preference Among Children
Children’s racial preference is mostly based on experience and surroundings. In “Racism Learned” by James H.Burnett III, Banaji says, “Parents...can shed that prejudice if he finds himself in a diverse enough place and consistently observes in-group and out-group people interacting positively and as equals.’’ This quote fantastically summarizes many of the experiments described in Paul Bloom’s article, Kenneth and Mamie Clark’s explanation, and Anderson Cooper’s video. For example, the quasi-scientific experiment described in Cooper’s video included a lot of childrens’ stories and experiences about how the adults or other children react to different races. One boy says everyone in his family is white, which is why it would be hard to convince his parents to let someone with a different skin color come over. This is even more support for Banaji’s quote, because it shows how important it is to be surrounded by all people, regardless of their features, in order to prevent prejudice. Paul Bloom also describes how important surroundings are for the moral development of humans. Humans have an innate sense of kindness, empathy, and decency, but building on that is up to society. He says, “It is the insights of rational individuals that make a truly universal and unselfish morality something that our species can aspire to.” This is essentially saying that humans want to be kind and our biological impulses to do so allow us to work for a selfless society. This further supports Banaji’s research that prejudice can be prevented and unlearned, because we know humans innately want to be kind.