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Race and Childrens Perceptions


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Interesting article on behaviors of parents, kids, and society trying to increase social diversity and acceptance.

 

Snippets from article (note: there is no context in these snippets and they cannot be commented on without reading the surrounding text):

 

"We all want our children to be unintimidated by differences and have the social skills necessary for a diverse world. The question is, do we make it worse, or do we make it better, by calling attention to race?

 

Bigler's experiment (blue and red shirts) seems to show how children will use whatever you give them to create divisions—seeming to confirm that race becomes an issue only if we make it an issue.

 

When the kids turned 3, Katz showed them photographs of other children and asked them to choose whom they'd like to have as friends. Of the white children, 86 percent picked children of their own race. When the kids were 5 and 6, Katz gave these children a small deck of cards, with drawings of people on them. Katz told the children to sort the cards into two piles any way they wanted. Only 16 percent of the kids used gender to split the piles. But 68 percent of the kids used race to split the cards, without any prompting. In reporting her findings, Katz concluded: "I think it is fair to say that at no point in the study did the children exhibit the Rousseau type of color-blindness that many adults expect."

 

Moody included statistical controls for activities, sports, academic tracking, and other school-structural conditions that tend to desegregate (or segregate) students within the school. The rule still holds true: more diversity translates into more division among students. Those increased opportunities to interact are also, effectively, increased opportunities to reject each other. And that is what's happening.

 

Immediately, the children began to chatter about the stunning development. At the ripe old ages of 6 and 7, the children had no doubt that there was a Real Santa. Of that they were absolutely sure. But suddenly there was this huge question mark. Could Santa be black? And if so, what did that mean?

 

Full article (title is misleading):

 

Even Babies Discriminate: A NurtureShock Excerpt

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I think the whole thing points to identifying with your own group being a positive selector. Else, baby gorillas might go home with chimpanzees.

 

It's only shocking because it is not politically correct.

 

You see yourself having a skin of a particular colour. When you're six years old, of course you're going to identify with those people who share most of your attributes. You're going to feel way more at home there. Group selection, plain and simple.

 

I fail to see why the scientists are so surprised and shocked at this.

 

We as a species should acknowledge our differences, come to terms with it and deal with it, and maybe then we can successfully manage it. Pretending that it does not exist is plain and simply dishonest. Ask any six-year old.

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I think the whole thing points to identifying with your own group being a positive selector.

 

When you're six years old, of course you're going to identify with those people who share most of your attributes. Group selection, plain and simple.

Its categorization at 6. As the article progressed, this evolves into group selection as seen with the teens. It tends to increase, not decrease.

We as a species should acknowledge our differences, come to terms with it and deal with it, and maybe then we can successfully manage it. Pretending that it does not exist is plain and simply dishonest. Ask any six-year old.

 

What needs to be 'managed'? This is where the separation of the science from everything else (such as philosophy) gets blurry for me.

 

It seems to me we have natural selection on an individual level, which translates into a group behavior that is present in across all races (though this snippet from the book focused on black and white).

 

The article did touch upon some of the social road-blocks, such as the example of families dropping out of the study due to their own comfort level, and the authors own realization 'race' was not discussed with his own child, when his child began associating skin color with origin.

 

From the article:

"However, as much as the scientists all supported active desegregation, the brief is surprisingly circumspect in its advocacy: the benefits of desegregation are qualified with words like "may lead" and "can improve." "Mere school integration is not a panacea," the brief warns.

 

Bigler: "It's an enormous step backward to increase social segregation," she says. However, she also admitted that "in the end, I was disappointed with the amount of evidence social psychology could muster [to support it]. Going to integrated schools gives you just as many chances to learn stereotypes as to unlearn them.""

 

Boerseun, with your experiences in s.africa, and the evolution of the social structure unfolding in the last two decades, you've seen a lot of change. Do you feel hindered in talking openly about what you see as reality, in a place such as this forum (or elsewhere)? Because that seems to be a big point in the article. The lack of social comfort in discussion of differences.

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Was it determined if the realization of the differences by the children was negative? Or was the realization simply the same realization of different hair color? I think that children might see the differences, I'd be disappointed if they didn't, but do they think they are superior due to these differences? I think not, I think they get those attitudes from adults....

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Racism is not a rational correlation, since no matter what racist position one takes, one can always find exceptions to that rule of thumb. If it was rational, any exceptions would be enough to refute the relationship.

 

The rules of thumb of racism, can still be empirical correlations, since exceptions are factored out into averages and will not kill the correlation. If racism also employs hate/fear or some feeling of risk, it is using a special form of empirical, where the exceptions can outweigh the valid examples, since risk/fear is spread out over the class like a ghost that can land anywhere at any time.

 

Since racism is empirical, does that mean that empirical can be used for other forms of pseudo-racism type effects? For example, there is a strong correlation between cigarette smoking and cancer. At the rational level, we can find at least one example, for whom this correlation does not apply. But at the empirical level, these exceptions are not important, since the correlation applies to the class of all smokers. Trying to rationalize that fact that there are exceptions is met with a firm bias, allowing discrimination. I am not promoting smoking, but can you see the similarity. Racist studies to create science correlations are not allowed because of this correlation effect.

 

With actual racism, the best way to make these irrational correlations, more rational to the mind, is by pointing to the exceptions. We try to teach children not to use class generalizations, even if there is data provided for the correlation. It is better to treat each person, as an individual, to see this is not a rational relationship for the entire class. It can cause one to lose track of reality, if we apply A to B, and see something in B, that is not there in reality, but suggested by the correlation.

 

Racism was not originally based on hate of another group, but on an inflated sense of one's own group. Based on this correlation, one can get an enhanced sense of self, that may not apply to you, but applies to the class. One can be the rational exception, but as long as one sticks to the correlation, one can become irrational in a way that might boost them. For example, if my race class-X are the best a weaving baskets, but I stink at it, if I accept the correlation as true, everyone expects more of me, and I need to expect more of myself. I might become better at basket weaving, using irrationality to overcome the original limits of my own cause and effect.

 

The negative side of racism, helps to lower the floor on another class, so my class will appear to rise, without having to rise. This too can give one a better sense of self, which although irrational, can help overcome the limitations of cause and effect. If my class X is better at basket weaving, and the negative racism says class Y is really bad, my initial attempts to make baskets looks better compared to this floor. This might get me over the hump until I can get up to steam as part of class X.

 

Where it gets out of hand is connected to the enforcement of the correlation. Both the ceiling and lower floor effects only work if we can socially remove the exceptions to the correlations. If class X is good at basket weaving, they may not want anyone who makes them look bad. You must practice harder. If class Y has a few members who are really good at making baskets, we may need to terrorize them or attack them in the market place, so they take up another occupation. This keeps the ceiling high and the floor low, which helps the members of class X but can hurt members of Y. Racism without the floor effect is less destructive, but it can still infringe upon liberties, if one does not wish to weave baskets like the rest of the class.

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Where it gets out of hand is connected to the enforcement of the correlation. Both the ceiling and lower floor effects only work if we can socially remove the exceptions to the correlations. If class X is good at basket weaving, they may not want anyone who makes them look bad. You must practice harder. If class Y has a few members who are really good at making baskets, we may need to terrorize them or attack them in the market place, so they take up another occupation. This keeps the ceiling high and the floor low, which helps the members of class X but can hurt members of Y. Racism without the floor effect is less destructive, but it can still infringe upon liberties, if one does not wish to weave baskets like the rest of the class.

 

Did you read the article? I ask because it was not about racism. Example from article (bolding mine):

 

"It takes remarkably little for children to develop in-group preferences. ...Rebecca Bigler, ran an experiment in three preschool classrooms, where 4- and 5-year-olds were lined up and given T shirts. Half the kids were randomly given blue T shirts, half red. The children wore the shirts for three weeks. During that time, the teachers never mentioned their colors and never grouped the kids by shirt color.

 

The kids didn't segregate in their behavior. They played with each other freely at recess. But when asked which color team was better to belong to, or which team might win a race, they chose their own color. They believed they were smarter than the other color. "The Reds never showed hatred for Blues," Bigler observed. "It was more like, 'Blues are fine, but not as good as us.' " When Reds were asked how many Reds were nice, they'd answer, "All of us." Asked how many Blues were nice, they'd answer, "Some." Some of the Blues were mean, and some were dumb—but not the Reds."

 

The above does not strike me as 'colorism'. It strikes me as Categorization, self-esteem (I am good, and I wear blue), positive re-inforcement (I only see the good things in blue shirts), and denial (I dont see negatives in blues, but I see them in reds).

 

Note, the blues did not say all reds were mean, or dumb, nor did the reds. So are we more accurate in descriptions when its a category we do not associate with? I mean, in any group of people some are mean, but the kids did not report this in their own shirt color, but saw it in the other color.

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Yea, I agree with Boerseun.

Look at it this way, children are creates of familiarity. They love their favorite blankey, or stuffed toy. Say they leave their favorite teddy (and i mean the one they take everywhere) on their bed, and go somewhere with their parent, and they come back home and its not there! Uh oh. The world has ended.

Kids like familiarity, no matter how you put it. Put a kid in a room with two other kids. But, one of the kids is their friend, somebody they know, and the other is a random person. Who do you think they will go to? Same thing in a candy store. If they know they like M&M's why would they want cotton candy?

Same thing with going to school for the first or second time. They dont know anybody, they dont know where they are, they just know their parents have abandoned them (with the reassuring "I will be back at the end on the day"). So they find the most familiar kids in the room, people who look like themselves.

ITs the same thing with groups and cliches in high school, except those kids know a little more about the world, and they know there are other similarities other than race.

These kids arnt racist they are simply trying to stay with the most familiar thing they know.

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If you showed small children pictures of a child of their own race, a child of another race, a cartoon character, and a puppy, which do you think they'd want to befriend? Which would come in second?

 

Discrimination in the original sense of the word is an essential part of development. Deciding what is safe and what is dangerous is pretty important too. If you infer anything from results in the middle of the whole process, you can get published and probably get a graduate degree, but you aren't contributing significantly to the understanding of a developed human being.

 

I'm not going to take the Oscar Hammerstein quote out of my Signature.

 

--lemit

 

p.s. If you showed me those pictures, substituting adults of my age for children, you'd get the same results.

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If you showed small children pictures of a child of their own race, a child of another race, a cartoon character, and a puppy, which do you think they'd want to befriend? Which would come in second?

 

Discrimination in the original sense of the word is an essential part of development. Deciding what is safe and what is dangerous is pretty important too. If you infer anything from results in the middle of the whole process, you can get published and probably get a graduate degree, but you aren't contributing significantly to the understanding of a developed human being.

 

I'm not going to take the Oscar Hammerstein quote out of my Signature.

 

--lemit

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Race is a superficial thing, which allows birds of a feather to flock together, for safety and security. Similar behavior is often shown by animals. Therefore, racism is quite primitive; it represents a continuity from the animals and would have been part of early human cultural evolution. Instead of the superficial of an animal, say we used more of human philosophical filter. Instead of what enters the eyes, as color difference, like an animal, say we filter through the mind's eye (learning, POV and imagination).

 

For example, the battle between science and religion, is not much different than racism, with each side teaching the benefit of its own POV filter and the flaws in the other POV filter. Do science and religion both discriminate? Birds of a feather still flock together and one needs to be the right POV color to be accepted.

 

What I like about these two POV's philosophical filters, neither discriminate using only the surface effect common to animals. One can be anything on the sensory surface, as long as they are internally, with the program, with respect to the protocol.

 

From an early age, children will show certain natural talents. Some have a propensity for math, science, language, art, sports and some for religion. Children will gravitate to their talent-race, with culture adding an external force, that pushes toward a POV direction. If these two overlap, the child is fine, since they are true to their natural and the cultural POV race. If these don't overlap there is an inner conflict.

 

It would be similar to placing a green child in a purple neighborhood. They can learn the culture to blend and copy behavior. But there are some differences which the more racist of the group will not let them forget. There will also be inner uneasiness, which they may not be able to shake, because they can see the differences.

 

If the parents are democrat or republican, they will teach this POV racism. It contains truth but not the whole truth. Some children will be natural for this specialty POV and some are not. The effect would be like parents having children of different colors and teaching all one color. Some will fit right in, without animal conflict, and others will have to try to fit in, even if they are a square peg in a round hole.

 

Those who have to try the hardest, to overcome inner/outer differences, can become the most fanatical. They need to pound the square peg in the round hole, since they not only have to learn but overcome their own inertia. But if the peg just won't fit, they become apathetic. If the peg is forced fit by culture/parents and their inner nature is not comfortable, they may become rebellious, for the activation energy needed to undo the POV force fit.

 

S

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ITs the same thing with groups and cliches in high school, except those kids know a little more about the world, and they know there are other similarities other than race.

These kids arnt racist they are simply trying to stay with the most familiar thing they know.

 

but you aren't contributing significantly to the understanding of a developed human being.

 

First and again, this article isnt about racism/discrimination, its about categorization and our human processes and development.

 

Now the article goes into further developments with older kids:

"Like most people, I assumed that after 30 years of desegregation, it would have a long track record of scientific research proving that the Diverse Environment Theory works."

 

"Duke University's James Moody—an expert on how adolescents form and maintain social networks—analyzed data on more than 90,000 teenagers at 112 different schools from every region of the country."

 

"Moody found that the more diverse the school, the more the kids self-segregate by race and ethnicity within the school, and thus the likelihood that any two kids of different races have a friendship goes down."

 

"The rule still holds true: more diversity translates into more division among students."

 

"Even in multiracial schools, once young people leave the classroom, very little interracial discussion takes place because a desire to associate with one's own ethnic group often discourages interaction between groups," wrote Brendesha Tynes of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign."

 

"Cross-race friends also tend to share a single activity, rather than multiple activities; as a result, these friendships are more likely to be lost over time, as children transition from middle school to high school."

 

So as they (teens) become more aware of the world (compared to children), there doesnt seem to be an increase of similarities, rather it seems the relationship is likely based on a self-reward (cant think of the proper term). Meaning, I [people with cross race friendship] associate with you because there is something to gain for me (shared interest).

 

Another way to think about the above. My kids school was not 'diverse'. Out of 500 kids there was maybe 2-3 black kids, and these kids tended to get invited into various group events. I imagine that with the less amount of diversity, there was an extra effort to include these kids in 'groups'. Where with a more diverse environment, there isnt that group guilt (we dont have to invite someone who doesnt really share our interests because they have groups of their own).

 

Comments?

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...

What needs to be 'managed'? This is where the separation of the science from everything else (such as philosophy) gets blurry for me. ...

 

i think the article is clear on what needs to be managed, though this part has gone un-mentioned by everyone posting so far. in short, clear discussion/explanation from parents for their children from infancy. here's some limited quotes from the article i find illustrative of my point. :hihi:

 

Even Babies Discriminate: A NurtureShock Excerpt. | Newsweek Life | Newsweek.com

...Bigler's experiment seems to show how children will use whatever you give them to create divisions—seeming to confirm that race becomes an issue only if we make it an issue. So why does Bigler think it's important to talk to children about race as early as the age of 3?

 

Her reasoning is that kids are developmentally prone to in-group favoritism; they're going to form these preferences on their own. Children naturally try to categorize everything, and the attribute they rely on is that which is the most clearly visible.

 

We might imagine we're creating color-blind environments for children, but differences in skin color or hair or weight are like differences in gender—they're plainly visible. Even if no teacher or parent mentions race, kids will use skin color on their own, the same way they use T-shirt colors. Bigler contends that children extend their shared appearances much further—believing that those who look similar to them enjoy the same things they do. Anything a child doesn't like thus belongs to those who look the least similar to him. The spontaneous tendency to assume your group shares characteristics—such as niceness, or smarts—is called essentialism.

...

Several studies point to the possibility of developmental windows—stages when children's attitudes might be most amenable to change. In one experiment, children were put in cross-race study groups, and then were observed on the playground to see if the interracial classroom time led to interracial play at recess. The researchers found mixed study groups worked wonders with the first-grade children, but it made no difference with third graders. It's possible that by third grade, when parents usually recognize it's safe to start talking a little about race, the developmental window has already closed....

As a parent, I dealt with these moments explicitly, telling my son it was wrong to choose anyone as his friend, or his "favorite," on the basis of skin color. We pointed out how certain friends wouldn't be in our lives if we picked friends for their color. Over time he not only accepted but embraced this lesson. Now he talks openly about equality and the wrongfulness of discrimination.

 

Not knowing then what I do now, I had a hard time understanding my son's initial impulses. Katz's work helped me to realize that Luke was never actually colorblind. He didn't talk about race in his first five years because our silence had unwittingly communicated that race was something he could not ask about. ...

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I remember in college, I had a best friend from my home town, who I barely knew in High School. In High School, we shared many of the same college prep classes. But we were from different parts of the city, so we usually hung with our own neighborhood groups after school. We were causal acquaintances.

 

Once we started college, we met, neither knowing the other was going to the same school. Instantly, we had more in common, since the school was out of state, full of students from all over country and world. In that larger context, we had a shared history, which was not important, in the context of our smaller geographical neighborhoods. I made other friends, which I built history of shared common memories, but this friend had a pre-build feature.

 

In the family home, one may have more in common with one of our siblings, due to age, for example (large family). When we go out in the hood, all the members of the family feel closer now, compared to these strangers, especially as children. As we leave the hood and wander to other other hoods, and meet someone from our hood, they become closer, simply because they lived on our street.

 

If we leave the city for another city, and meet someone from our home town, now we share a common link that was not important before. If go out of state, and meet someone from our home state, now we instantly share something in common, with this person who has been a stranger in the smaller context. If we left the earth and began to travel to others worlds, we would have a special place for earthlings. It is nice to see someone with only two arms and two legs, no matter what the color or language.

 

What this tells me, one needs to open up their world/mind to overcome the narrow mindedness of a smaller world. You need to find a big place in the mind, where what we share in common is larger than what we can share in small places.

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The public education system is run by the liberals. I don't mean that as an insult, but as an observation. Simple things, like pledge allegiance to the flag, although nationalist, did create a larger common world. They are on the same team for 30 seconds. Once you get rid of this and other large commonality, it is expected that worlds become smaller. Where is the meeting point where they all come together?

 

Although liberals did help make integration possible, which opened a smaller mind/world, into a larger world/mind, the other hand of liberal, also fixates on the differences that will create a smaller world/mind. Things like racism, sexism, ethnic diversity, all shrink the world perception out of fear/security. This defines how the groups are suppose to split into smaller groups of birds of a feather.

 

Even if there is racism, this is only an empirical correlation, and not a rational relationship. A rational relationship can not have exceptions. Empirical can ignore exceptions and still be considered valid. We could just as well form another correlation that shows aspects of racism have come down. This is not rational either, just another correlation, since one can also find exceptions. However, it a correlation that opens the world because it gets rid of the fear that divides.

 

If you told the children, the latest empirical data shows children today like to learn more about other worlds, they will do that. They don't know the difference between rational and empirical. One only has to formulate the proper experiment and the correct premise, to make it work.

 

On the other other hand, if you tell the the correlation that green likes to discriminate against orange, orange will huddle for protection, and green left by itself, also starts to huddle. Some greens will be good correlation soldiers, through the power of suggestion. Other members of the green never did this, but they will be looked at like they did, due mistaken empirical for rational. With empirical, we have some flexibility within the range of proper premise wording. Why not open the world. This may not be rational, and just another correlation, but it will lead to a better result.

 

With the liberals there is always the oppositions of rich-poor, government-buisness, have and have-nots, black-white, male-female, gay-straight, green or not green, organic-synthetic, religion-science, ethnic diversity, etc. If you buy into those meadow muffin fixations, people will take a side. The best birds of a feather will need to have all the same attributes, which narrows even more.

 

With the racism studies, after the races divide, have their been studies to see how each race divides? The odds are neither race is one big happy family. Is there a push to further divide, internally?

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i think the article is clear on what needs to be managed, though this part has gone un-mentioned by everyone posting so far. in short, clear discussion/explanation from parents for their children from infancy. here's some limited quotes from the article i find illustrative of my point. :evil:

 

Even Babies Discriminate: A NurtureShock Excerpt. | Newsweek Life | Newsweek.com

 

Part of your Quote (bold mine)

Several studies point to the possibility of developmental windows—stages when children's attitudes might be most amenable to change. In one experiment, children were put in cross-race study groups, and then were observed on the playground to see if the interracial classroom time led to interracial play at recess. The researchers found mixed study groups worked wonders with the first-grade children, but it made no difference with third graders. It's possible that by third grade, when parents usually recognize it's safe to start talking a little about race, the developmental window has already closed....

 

As I said, the science vs philosophy becomes blurry for me.

 

Later in the article, we find more diversity leads to more segregation. These are the older kids, teens, who often make decisions on their own about their preferences regardless of what their parents would want them to choose.

 

There is limited information from this article for anyone to come to a conclusion without reading the book so we are left to our own devices and interpretations. What the article does not answer is, do the first graders from the study meld back into the behaviors seen in the first group of 3rd graders (when they age a couple of years) for their recess preferences. Without that data, its an incomplete behavior study.

 

So anyways, your statement that the article seems to answer the question of "managed" seems to be an assumption from the limited information given by the article, and not really answered by this article.

 

I was surprised a bit by the stats given on the teens, who have more experience with life and more comparisons. I had expected more diversity would lead to more integration.

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Part of your Quote (bold mine)

Several studies point to the possibility of developmental windows—stages when children's attitudes might be most amenable to change. In one experiment, children were put in cross-race study groups, and then were observed on the playground to see if the interracial classroom time led to interracial play at recess. The researchers found mixed study groups worked wonders with the first-grade children, but it made no difference with third graders. It's possible that by third grade, when parents usually recognize it's safe to start talking a little about race, the developmental window has already closed...

 

As I said, the science vs philosophy becomes blurry for me. ...

 

:evil: if you don't understand it, you don't understand it. the terms you bolden and imply as suspect come from statistical analysis, the mainstay of social science. don't know what else to tell you. you clearly had something in mind by introducing the article and i get the sense you suspect the science because you disagree with the scientific conclusions. while there may be many reasons for racial and other similar prejudices, there is no excusing them.

 

I was surprised a bit by the stats given on the teens, who have more experience with life and more comparisons. I had expected more diversity would lead to more integration.

 

again you missed the point i think. according to the article, the diversity leading to integration idea was found to not hold/work/be-as-effective when introduced later in childhood.

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