Do Black People Suffer as Much as Us? What do the Children Think?
by S Aziz on October 21, 2015 - 9:51pm
“This Is When Racial Bias Begins to Impact a Child’s Empathy for Pain, Study Suggests:” An article written by Macrina Cooper-White who claims the empathy one feels in regards to another’s pain depends on one’s own racial bias, even when it comes to a child. The author states that previous research has shown that White people sweat more when they witness a White person suffering than when it is a Black person, and that a number of doctors prescribe stronger pain medication to White patients compared to Black patients. She affirms this unconscious bias to be a racial empathy gap. She explains this concept through a 2014 study. Its sample included mostly White children at five, seven, and ten years of age. The participants were asked to rate the level of pain they expected both a White child and a Black child to feel in physically painful situations. The youngest children did not show any sign of racial bias, the seven-year-olds showed some, while the oldest children showed strong signs of racial bias. The researchers concluded that potential biases emerge in middle childhood and continue to develop throughout. The article further includes a prevention method: She suggests talking to children about racial issues before they reach seven years of age. Conclusively, the author claims that additional research might one day present opportunities for intervention.
The article “This Is When Racial Bias Begins to Impact a Child’s Empathy for Pain, Study Suggests” includes a precise title, in which the words “Child’s Empathy for Pain” strike us. On may wonder how an innocent child can have less empathy for a person because of something like skin color. Well, Professor Winkler explains, in her article Children Are Not Colorblind: How Young Children Learn Race, that the belief that children are immune to racist thoughts is a popular misconception. In fact, she claims racial bias can emerge in a child as young as three years old. Cooper-White’s prevention method fails to consider the complete vulnerability of young children to racial bias. She suggests speaking to children by age seven although by that age, they might have already integrated racial bias. Instead of parents having to destroy a child’s already partially constructed bias through a talk about racial issues, I believe implementing ideas of humanity in the children’s everyday lives, and emphasizing the equality of the diverse groups of people that exist in today’s society, are the most effective ways to prevent the development of racial bias. Although the above article is free of emotions, seemingly not covering the gravity of potential bias developing in young kids, it has many strong points. It includes three studies done at different years supporting the existence of racial prejudice in children. The article is shorter than most articles, thus extremely concise. Although the author does not appear as particularly sensitive to the topic, she yet suggests to the readers a method to prevent or remove biases in children. Conclusively, upon agreeing with Winkler’s statements, Cooper-White acknowledges the children’s immunity to racial prejudice as myth, and encourages parents to act against its development in the future makers of society.
Cooper-White, M. (2014, March 4). This Is When Racial Bias Begins To Impact A Child's Empathy For Pain, Study Suggests. Retrieved October 16, 2015.