Racial Bias is Alive and Well -- In Our Children

What an incredibly sad thing.  A new study has found that a sample of mostly white American children from ages seven to 10 believe that black children feel less pain than white children.

Our research shows that a potentially very harmful bias in adults emerges during middle childhood, and appears to develop across childhood,” said the study’s lead investigator, Rebecca Dore, a Ph.D. candidate in developmental psychology at U.Va., at newswise.com.

Dore noted that this finding is important "because many kinds of explicit biases emerge in early childhood – such as children wanting to play with friends of their own race – but those types of biases often decline in later childhood."
But, she points out, the racial bias in children’s perceptions of others’ pain appears to strengthen from early to late childhood. The researchers found no evidence of a racial bias among their study participants at the age of five, but the bias began showing up among participants at the age of seven, and then became particularly prominent at the age of 10.
Is it what they hear at home?  Partly.  But Dore says if we want to prevent this bias from developing, it needs to be done by age seven, or age 10 at the latest.
Parents and teachers -- in fact, most people, a lawyer on Dr. Phil today said -- often feel uncomfortable addressing issues of race with young children, or older children, or adults, or just about anyone. It's the great white elephant in the room, the unspoken issue.
Why is that?  After all these years of seeming to come together as races, have we really not achieved much at all?  I don't know what it's like to grow up black (though I think I was, in an earlier life), but to have to go through life worrying that, or knowing, people see me as inferior, or are afraid of me, would place an unbearable burden on me. Yet, that's what black people have to go through every day.  Even now.
I guess the only thing we can do is try to raise our kids to respect everyone, to have any friends they want, and, most important of all, start at a very early age.






but the study suggests that, because bias is present at young ages, adults should begin addressing it early.


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