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Old 09-13-2009, 01:02 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by VintagePunk View Post
Part of me wonders if it's not less a case of them being uncomfortable with race, and more a case of their underestimating the ability of their children to comprehend something that they themselves probably see as being very complex and loaded.
I really doubt it. It's pretty much only white parents who do this.
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Old 09-13-2009, 05:59 PM   #17
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I found the study interesting also in the way the children assigned characteristics to the races as to who is nice, who is mean, who is varying descriptive terms. It reminded me of several studies where children see essentially the same dichotomy when shown pictures of attractive or unattractive people. I don't think it is purely racial bias in action here, but it is troubling in its connotations since it is widespread and prejudges people almost purely on the way they look without any basis in the reality of their characteristics.

I found Vintage Punk's comments to be interesting and true to a point from my own reading on the subject.

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The researchers covered a lot of ground that I'm familiar with. All people categorize every person and thing in their environments at all times. It's how we, as humans, make sense of our environments without mentally overtaxing ourselves. These categorizations often take place preconsciously and very rapidly, and they occur starting with broad and general attributes (with race, of course, being one of the broadest) and move to the specific. It's been hypothsized that this categorization we engage in is an evolutionary mechanism, from when early man had to make these rapid judgments so that they could act and avoid being killed by a predator or an unfriendly outsider. It stands to reason that this begins at a very, very young age, as the author spoke of when mentioning that six month olds spend more time looking at the faces of people from different races.
But there appears to be more going on there than that (not that I'm suggesting Vintage Punk stopped there, which she did not)
I also found it encouraging that there was improvement when the parents actually talked the issue out rather than in abstracts and the term "equality" is an abstract without discussion of what it really means in the day to day.

I looked in the article to see if included in the study was the perception of black children when shown similar photographs and their responses. I would like to see the results there to get a bigger picture.
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Old 09-13-2009, 11:12 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by yolland View Post
I really doubt it. It's pretty much only white parents who do this.
You're correct, but it could also be that parents of minority children have extra incentive to discuss these topics with their children, where white parents, by virtue of their being the majority for whom racism is not a factor, have less motivation to broach what they could perceive to be a complex and weighty topic that might be difficult for their child to comprehend. Not saying that's the only factor, certainly, but I do wonder if that's not part of it.

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Originally Posted by BonosSaint View Post

I found Vintage Punk's comments to be interesting and true to a point from my own reading on the subject.



But there appears to be more going on there than that (not that I'm suggesting Vintage Punk stopped there, which she did not)
Definitely there's more going on than that. I was offering the generally accepted reason as to why babies behave this way, but certainly as children grow older, the pick up various social cues, etc, that would come to influence their behaviour far more than a brief cognitive categorization mechanism.

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I looked in the article to see if included in the study was the perception of black children when shown similar photographs and their responses. I would like to see the results there to get a bigger picture.
I don't have time to check at the moment, but you're right, that would be interesting to find out. I can't recall ever hearing of a study that looked at minority children in this way, but I'm sure there must be something out there. For the babies looking at faces, I'm pretty sure that I've heard of studies where this phenomenon holds true for all races (I can't remember if the article specified this or not).
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Old 09-14-2009, 01:47 AM   #19
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Okay, I looked up a few things. I'll copy and paste some, and then try to briefly summarize a very recent study I found that was just published in the Journal of Black Psychology last month.

Kenneth and Mamie Clark - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Kenneth Bancroft Clark (July 24, 1914–May 1, 2005) and Mamie Phipps Clark (1917-1983) were African-American psychologists who as a married team conducted important research among children and were active in the Civil Rights Movement. They founded the Northside Center for Child Development in Harlem and the organization Harlem Youth Opportunities Unlimited (HARYOU). Kenneth Clark also was an educator and professor at City College, and first Black president of the American Psychological Association.

They were known for their 1940s experiments using dolls to study children's attitudes about race.

...

The Clarks' doll experiments grew out of Mamie Clark's master's degree thesis. They published three major papers between 1939 and 1940 on children's self perception related to race. Their studies found contrasts among children attending segregated schools in Washington, DC versus those in integrated schools in New York. They found that Black children often preferred to play with white dolls over black; that, asked to fill in a human figure with the color of their own skin, they frequently chose a lighter shade than was accurate; and that the children gave the color "white" attributes such as good and pretty, but "black" was qualified as bad and ugly.[12] They viewed the results as evidence that the children had internalized racism caused by being discriminated against and stigmatized by segregation.

The Clarks testified as expert witnesses in several school desegregation cases, including Briggs v. Elliott, which was later combined into the famous Brown v. Board of Education (1954). The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that racial segregation in public education was unconstitutional.

In 2006 filmmaker Kiri Davis recreated the doll study and documented it in a film entitled A Girl Like Me. Despite the many changes in some parts of society, she found the same results as did the Drs. Clark in their study of the late 1930s and early 1940s.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Girl_...e_(documentary)

Quote:
A Girl Like Me is a 2005 award-winning documentary by Kiri Davis. The seven-minute documentary examines such things as the importance of color, hair and facial features for young African American women. It won the Diversity Award at the 6th Annual Media That Matters film festival in New York City, and has received coverage on on various American media sources, such as CNN, ABC, NPR. The documentary has been shown on HBO and is available, in its entirety, on mediathatmattersfest.org. The documentary was made as part of Reel Works Teen Filmmaking.

The video begins with interviews with Kiri and her peers about how 'black' features did not conform to society's standards of beauty. The next section was a repeat of an experiment conducted by Kenneth Clark in the 1940s where African-American children were asked to choose between black or white dolls. In the original experiment(s) the majority of the children choose the white dolls. When Davis repeated the experiment 15 out of 21 children also choose the white dolls over the black, giving similar reasons as the original subjects, associating white with being "pretty" or "good" and black with "ugly" or "bad". The dolls used in the documentary were identical except for skin colour.
The documentary can be viewed here: A Girl Like Me

The new study I found is not available online unless you're subscribed to a database that gives you access, but I have a full copy that I'd be happy to e-mail to anyone who would like to read it over.


Hernandez-Reif, M., & Jordan, P. (2009). Reexamination of Young Children's Racial Attitudes and Skin Tone Preferences. Journal of Black Psychology, 35, 388-403.

This study looked at 40 children, evenly divided between black and white boys and girls, with an average age of just over 4 years old.

1) They showed each child computer drawn cartoons of 4 children, one with white skin, one with light brown skin, one with medium brown skin, and one with dark brown skin, and then they asked the child to identify which of the four cartoon children could be their best friend. This question was thought to show colour preference.

2) Then each child was shown two cartoon children, one black and one white, and were asked the following:
Who:
(1) you would like as a “playmate or best friend,”
(2) “looks nice,”
(3) “looks bad,”
(4) has a “nice skin color,”
(5) “looks like a White child,”
(6) “looks like a Black child,” and
(7) “looks like you”

These are the same questions used in the Clark & Clark study.

In addition to making a choice, they were also told they could choose to respond "none" or "both."

3) After answering the questions, the children were split into equal groups where half the children heard a neutral story about a duck, and the other half of the children heard a more moralistic story about a black child saving a duck.

4) After hearing the story, both groups of children were asked the same questions again.

The results are quite involved so I'm not going to attempt to cover them all. Again, if you want to read the detailed results, PM me and I'll send you a copy of the study, but in general, it was shown that after hearing the moralistic story of the black child saving the duck, black children answered the questions in a more positive way toward their race.

The message this seems to provide is that when black children receive positive input about members of their race, they tend to respond more positively to questions about blacks, and they seem more readily to identify as black. This, of course, is in contrast to the original Clark & Clark doll study.

The question I would have about this study's results is how long the effects of the positive reinforcement last. Is it just long enough for the questions to be answered more positively, or is it a sustained effect? How often do children need this kind of reinforcement in order to consistently think more positively about their race?
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Old 09-16-2009, 02:43 PM   #20
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So, everyone is born Republican?
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Old 09-16-2009, 02:52 PM   #21
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