Children and Prejudice

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Running head: CHILDREN AND PREJUDICE

Children and Prejudice

Abstract
Over the last century, researchers have been debating whether prejudices are inborn in children, researchers then found that children are in fact prejudiced, but debate arises about how they become prejudiced. Some studies suggested that children are born with being prejudiced and that it is innate and natural, where as other studies argue that prejudice behavior are learnt socially off parents, family, peers and the social environment in which they grew up in. Theories have been devised to help explain the prejudice processes of children by in-group and out-group behavior; there is the Developmental Intergroup Theory and the Social Identity Developmental theory. A new debate has been surfacing about the decrease of prejudice at the age of seven and no decrease of prejudice. One Australian study shows consistency with children of American and Canada, but some studies show no racial prejudice towards other races in children.

Children and Prejudice
Question of whether children are prejudiced has long been debated. Past and recent researches have found that there are in fact prejudice tendencies in children and that it can be present at the age of three to four years, but it is unclear how children become prejudiced. Definition of prejudice according to Allport (1954) is that prejudice is “thinking ill of others without sufficient warrant” (As cited in Eagly, xxxx, p. 45) and according to Kosslyn and Rosenberg (2004) prejudice is “an attitude (generally negative) toward members of a group” (p. G-7). In the course of research on the prejudice of children, there has been debate over the “relative role of cognition versus environmental-learning factors…” (Gutman & Hickson, 1996, p.448). Several theories have tried to explain the prejudice in children, for example, the Developmental Intergroup Theory (Bigler & Liben, 1996) and the Social Identity Development Theory (Nesdale, Durkin, Maass & Griffiths, 2005). Several measures have been used to measure racial attitudes of children towards other races such as the Preschool Racial Attitudes Measure and the Multiresponse Racial Attitude measure (Aboud, 2003). Less then half a century ago, some social theorists believed that prejudice are inborn in people and that it is inherent and instinctive, it was considered natural to not like people who differ physically and like people who are the similar to one self; but research in the last three decades they have discarded those theories. Researchers are now convinced that children are prejudiced by learning it socially, children observe, and are influenced by the “existence of patterns in the culture in which they live” (Clark, 1955, p.17). This being that, children believed not to be born with tendencies to be prejudiced but learn it socially by how they live. Consistent with Clark, Bigler and Liben (2007), believes that young children are often seen as being unaffected by the negative biases of adults, but many studies show that prejudice exist by the age of four years old. Allport (1958) states that children start to notice physical characteristics that mark a racial group membership. Like researches above, findings of Kowalski’s (2003) research, they have found that children as young as preschoolers start to have negative attitudes to other racial/out ' groups, they have a tendency to say positive statements about same race and negative statements about other races (Aboud, 1987; Aboud & Sherry, 1984, as cited in Kowalski, 2003). Until quite recently, there were differences of opinion concerning the age at which children start to develop and express racial prejudices. According to a recent research of white kindergarten children and African-American children, they show a preference for skin color. These children were asked a few questions and they showed a great awareness of skin color, this finding supports the idea that racial awareness is present as...
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