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Thread: Awareness of Racism Affects How Children Do Socially and Academically

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    Awareness of Racism Affects How Children Do Socially and Academically

    Most children actively notice and think about race. A new study has found that children develop an awareness about racial stereotypes early, and that those biases can be damaging.

    The study, by researchers at Rush University and Yale University, appears in the November/December 2009 issue of the journal Child Development.

    This study looked at more than 120 elementary school children from an ethnically and socioeconomically diverse area of the United States. Children were asked questions to determine their ability to understand another person’s stereotypical beliefs as well as their own comprehension of broadly held stereotypes. They were also asked about their own experiences with discrimination. In addition, the children’s parents completed questionnaires asking about their parenting.

    Between ages 5 and 11, the researchers found, children become aware that many people believe stereotypes, including stereotypes about academic ability (for example, how intelligent certain racial and ethnic groups are). When children become aware of these types of bias about their own racial or ethnic group, it can affect how they respond to everyday situations, ranging from interacting with others to taking tests. For example, African American and Latino youths who were aware of broadly held stereotypes about their groups performed poorly on a standardized test, confirming the negative stereotype in a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    “These results have important implications for social policy,” according to Clark McKown, assistant professor of pediatrics and behavioral sciences at Rush University Medical Center, who led the study. “Specifically, they suggest the need for educational policies and comprehensive programs to reduce stereotypes and their consequences early in children’s school careers.”

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    Utter nonsense. So tell a kid he is smart and suddenly he will be? I remember they used to do this to us in school- tell everyone they are special and that their work is great even when its not. It just confused me and started to make me feel like the teacher was either stupid or maybe that I was dillusional. I remember in kindergarten I would color something really well or read something well. The teacher would say "great job!" and I'd be like yeah I know. Then some half retarded kid would come up with some squiggly lines on a paper and not able to spell his name "great job- here's a smily face- I'm proud of you". My jaw would drop. Umm teacher did you see his work.

    Studies have actually shown that this false praise is ineffective and actually further reduces the performance of under performers (because they realize that the praise has no merit). It is roughly the same with racial stereo types. If someone keeps telling you that we are all the same you start to think there must be something different about us or they wouldn't constantly be drilling our heads with sameness. Then if they say nothing well again the child is no idiot and can see obvious differences. Overall I'd say races create their own stereotypes rather than the stereotype being a self fullfilled prophesy. This is reinforced again with studies- the more diverse a school is the more racist it becomes and the stronger the stereotypes. A non diverse school has little awareness of racial differences. I had this happen to me as well. I originally went to an all white school and was told we are all the same. I more or less believed it. Then when I went to a school with other races the behavior, appearance etc. taught me differently. So basically every aspect of this article is false.

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