Racial Socialization

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Although studies on ethnic identity are still relatively new in the research development community, there have been a number of important studies that reveal even children are aware of social bias despite being at a young age. In a recreation of the famous doll test done by Kenneth and Mamie Clark in 1939, Margaret Spencer (1988) revealed that most of the 4-to 6- year old African American children had a higher preference for playing with the white doll over the black doll as they did in the original experiment. The Kenneth and Mamie Clark test suggested that a phenomenon referred to as “the white bias” prevented African American children from valuing their own community as a whole. However, Spencer (1988) stated that 80 percent of the African…show more content…
Racial socialization refers to messages transmitted from generational elders to the youth based on attitude, behavior, and value of identification of their racial group. In alternative terms, racial socialization is when the parent explains to their child what does it mean to be a certain race and what they should expect as a member of society. The study correlated the parenting techniques of African American, Dominican, and Puerto Rican parents and measured how each group involves cultural socialization and preparation for bias. The results of the experiment showed that cultural socialization of African Americans did not have a positive effect on their ethnic identity, while it had a significant effect on the identities of their Dominican and Puerto Rican counterparts (Hughes, 2003). However, African American parents scored the highest of the three groups on using their role to prepare their children for bias (Hughes, 2003). This study supports the information cited from the textbook in the sense that African American children are generally taught to be aware of biases early on in the developmental stage in comparison to other ethnic…show more content…
In fact, African Americans are believed to have, albeit an extremely basic, awareness of racial discrimination as early as in the third grade (Rowley, Burchinal, Roberts, & Zeizel, 2008). It appears that this developmental age is the most vulnerable time for the children to learn about racism, as the third grade group scored higher on expecting racial discrimination in their life than that of the fifth grade group. However, an interesting find was that the children believed that having more African American friends put them at a higher risk of facing discrimination. (Rowley, et al. 2008) This can cause a child to feel the need to limit the amount of African American friends they have while simultaneously preferring to make friends of other races. Although it is not a definite negative outcome, this can cause social issues for the child later in life when exposed to predominantly Black communities or situations. Also, the children believed that higher racial centrality– the extent in which the child normatively defines themselves with regard to being African American– increased their chances of encountering discrimination; however, they believed that having higher public regard– the extent in which the child feels that others view African Americans in a positive or negative manner– decreased their chances of coming across
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