Implicit racism in children

by Bayleaf42 on November 17, 2016 - 2:14am

In França and Monteiro's (2013) research set out to observe racist or racially-biased behaviours amongst younger and older white children within a group dynamic. In this, we will only be observing the first of two studies in this paper. The hypotheses that the researchers had come up with were that the white children would be more likely to be credited than their black counterparts in general, and that older children are more likely to display egalitarian values than the younger kids when rewarding others where accomplishments were similar. However, they expected both age groups to display bias for white children in a situation where accomplishments and help were skewed. Some discussion is shown concerning the belief that white kids seem, in society, to show more implicit, with some explicit, racial bias against their black peers. Norms in society concerning egalitarianism have an effect in how children develop, and how racial stereotyping or bias occurs. The authors also mention, due to past research, that egalitarian attitudes become more and more explicit as children age, and racism becomes implicit. To continue, attitudes of children toward race change depending on whom is present during a given situation, such as an adult or authority figure. In study one, 82 white children were selected from middle-income elementary schools in Sergipe to participate in the experiment. In a double-blind procedure, children were interviewed and asked to pretend that they had an intention to build something of interest, and would be rewarding other kids for their help. They were shown photos of different coloured children holding bricks of varying quantity. Several different scenarios were explored, in which sometimes children had similar performances (same amounts of bricks), and sometimes they did not. The results of this study showed that in a justified situation, the expected hypothesis was true: Children despite age would reward those who accomplished more than the others, regardless of color, though younger kids were likely to give similar rewards to both “races”. In an unjustified situation, it was found that indeed blacks were rewarded less than the whites were, and as expected, the older children displayed more egalitarian behaviour than the younger ones. In study one, they concluded that white people will attempt to justify racial bias, without racist reasons. Racial bias was present within white children, and the ages of children changed results, as expected. However, young kids showed unexpected behaviour and rewarded blacks more or less equally in a justified contexts, and were biased toward whites in an unjustified one. On the other hand, older children rewarded blacks fairly in the unjustified context but not in the justified one, meaning that their first hypothesis was correct, but the second one needed to be reevaluated due to some unanticipated behaviour from the younger age group.

I believe that this type of study is rather important in understanding where bias comes from, as children. This is only one of several steps needed to observe, and thereafter use to improve situations. As it is discussed in the article, social values of today are of an egalitarian sort: it is expected of people to, or at least try to, treat visible minorities with equal respect as others. Even so, however, children pick up on aversive behaviours based on what they observe in society, as was discussed in the class, and although the intention is often not there, implicit racism is present with age. I believe that we can use this information to change the way children pick up on racial cues, and as such change future generations and their ways of perceiving their peers and authorities. Wishful as it may be, a future without racism is possible. It's just going to take a long time, and some serious work as a whole society. If one can identify their own implicit racist tendencies as well as those of children, measures can be taken to rectify the attitudes, and perhaps repetition will stop it from being a conscious effort, and it will transcend into a natural behaviour.

 

França, D. X., & Monteiro, M. B. (2013). Social norms and the expression of prejudice: The development of aversive racism in childhood. European Journal Of Social Psychology, 43(4), 263-271. doi:10.1002/ejsp.1965

Comments

Obviously, the title is the first thing that grabbed my attention as I was searching on the site. I found it really odd, because, in our “Myth of Race and Reality of Racism” class, we have seen that children display forms of racism, and at a very young age. However, I thought of the forms of children racism a more explicit than implicit. Yet, you convinced me. The article you summarized, to me, even though it could blatantly relate to racism in children, also has a link with the concept of White privilege. The concept was created very recently and it states that, in our modern-day society, people belonging to the “White race”, or the dominant group, have more privilege or advantages in life than other racial groups. The concept basically summarizes what I understood from your summary: a child, which could be representing society, rewards the “White” kid over the “Black” kid, even though both of them had equal opportunities and equal ressources. I was amazed by how the experiment, whether deliberately or not, created an interesting metaphor on a real-life problem. Your conclusion is what I remember the most, because I completely agree. A world without racism is indeed possible. We just need to reform our education system to educate children about different races. It becomes increasingly important to do so, because more and more racial minorities migrate everyday, and the whole world needs to adapt to this change. The only way to make the world change is through children

I would first like to start off by saying that you came up with a very eye-catching title for me as I am someone currently enrolled in a class “The Myth of Race and the Reality of Racism”. I just finished a paper on child racism for said class, so your title caught my attention immediately. While I had done a lot of research on racism amongst children, I focused solely on children of all ages in general. I had not considered looking at how racism varied by age group, which you explored well in your summary of the study. The differences in age groups was something I found rather interesting. Overall, I must say that I am quite impressed with your quality of work and your subject. You summarized your chosen article very well, made a lot of well thought out and valid points, and finished off nicely with your opinion on the matter. I was pleasantly surprised to see you also touched heavily on white privilege, something I have covered very thoroughly in my class, and how it affected the way our society even at its youngest members works and treats visible minorities. I would like to finish off by going back to your concluding statement and say that I absolutely agree. I don’t doubt it will take a very long time to rid the world of racism, but through what I have learned and read throughout the year in my race and racism class I do believe in time it is very much possible.

I was brought in very much by the title of this post. It was one that got me thinking about racism in children(a topic I haven't put much thought into before reading this post). I found it quite interesting how among the age groups racism was present. The research showed that white children would reward white children more than children of color. My question is for young children are they actually racist or are they just choosing individual that are like themselves? I grew up in a town that was predominately white with few families of color. It was often seen in my town that the children of color would only hang out with children of color and for the most part that would not hang out with any whites. There was a clear separation of races in my school. Overall I thought that your post was very thought provoking and got me to think about a knew topic that I hadn't before.

What originally drew me to your post was your title. I think that norms in society really do have an effect on how children develop and how racial stereotyping and biases occur. I also think the study you chose to write about is very prevalent in what we are seeing in today's society and it is something that is very easy to relate to. It definitely is important that we understand where exactly children learn their biases from if we want to help round our people and become as inclusive and accepting as possible. Being the one of the oldest on both sides of my family I completely understand how important it is to act around younger children. .Because they themselves do not know how to act they look up to those they are around and mirror their actions. This is really how children learn. Babies aren’t born being racist or having particular biases to certain groups, this is something they observe and then pick up on and act upon. A big problem is that people may be completely unaware on the impact they are having on younger children who are watching them. Even the slightest remarks made about someone children pick up on. Obviously everything cannot be sheltered but it is important that people try to watch how they act when around small children so they don't wrongly influence them.Growing up I can definitely attribute to some of my biases to my family and how I was raised. Being the oldest I was mostly growing up around a lot of adults and I really believe this had an impact on the way I developed and is the reason I am the way who I am today. If we want future generations to abolish racial tendencies we need to start now. It definitely is going to take a while, like you said, but it is something that hopefully one day will be achieved.

What originally drew me to your post was your title. I think that norms in society really do have an effect on how children develop and how racial stereotyping and biases occur. I also think the study you chose to write about is very prevalent in what we are seeing in today's society and it is something that is very easy to relate to. It definitely is important that we understand where exactly children learn their biases from if we want to help round our people and become as inclusive and accepting as possible. Being the one of the oldest on both sides of my family I completely understand how important it is to act around younger children. .Because they themselves do not know how to act they look up to those they are around and mirror their actions. This is really how children learn. Babies aren’t born being racist or having particular biases to certain groups, this is something they observe and then pick up on and act upon. A big problem is that people may be completely unaware on the impact they are having on younger children who are watching them. Even the slightest remarks made about someone children pick up on. Obviously everything cannot be sheltered but it is important that people try to watch how they act when around small children so they don't wrongly influence them.Growing up I can definitely attribute to some of my biases to my family and how I was raised. Being the oldest I was mostly growing up around a lot of adults and I really believe this had an impact on the way I developed and is the reason I am the way who I am today. If we want future generations to abolish racial tendencies we need to start now. It definitely is going to take a while, like you said, but it is something that hopefully one day will be achieved.

This blog post reminded me of a study that I had researched in a psychology class, called the Baby Doll Experiment, by the Clarks. In this experiment, they would ask younger children to pick a doll to play with between a white and black doll, as well as other questions such as "Which is the good doll?" and "Which is the bad doll?" This showed that children are more likely to choose the white doll by a substantial margin. With this prior knowledge, I wholeheartedly agree that there is implicit bias, but that even at younger ages we have forms of a prejudice due to our exposure to society, mostly through our parents' values. You did bring up a great point at the end though, stating that the responsibility lays on the shoulders of the authoritative figures in society to change the bias that is given to the newer generations. Overall, a very interesting read!