(Ivanhoe Newswire) New research suggests that children as young as five years old see racial stereotypes in their world. Experts say acknowledged biases can be damaging.
The Rush University and Yale University study found that children between five and 11 years old are aware that many people believe in racial stereotypes. When children hear biases about their own racial group, it can affect their actions in everyday situations. When African American and Latino children heard that their races had poor academic stereotypes, they gave themselves excuses to not succeed in school.
"These results have important implications for social policy," Clark McKown, assistant professor of pediatrics and behavioral sciences at Rush University Medical Center and leader of the study, was quoted as saying. "Specifically, they suggest the need for educational policies and comprehensive programs to reduce stereotypes and their consequences early in children's school careers."
In their study, researchers asked questions to more than 120 children and their parents regarding stereotypes and academic ability. Children were asked about their understanding of stereotypical beliefs and about their personal experiences. Parents were asked about their parenting styles.
SOURCE: Child Development, November/ December issue, 2009
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