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Children Recognize Race at Early Age

Are Children Color-Blind or Do They Recognize Race?

Are kids color-blind? According to the new book NurtureShock, they aren't. It claims that children as young as six months judge other people based on the color of their skin. The researchers behind the book found that while many families try to avoid discussing race in order to raise "color-blind" children, the kids are making their own, often incorrect, conclusions as to why they look different from their neighbors. According to a Newsweek article about the research:

We might imagine we're creating color-blind environments for children, but differences in skin color or hair or weight are like differences in gender — they're plainly visible. Even if no teacher or parent mentions race, kids will use skin color on their own, the same way they use T-shirt colors. [Researcher Rebecca] Bigler contends that children extend their shared appearances much further — believing that those who look similar to them enjoy the same things they do. Anything a child doesn't like thus belongs to those who look the least similar to him.

Some parents don't address race, but the authors suggest that by talking about it early — before first grade — we can avoid racial stereotypes. Do you believe lil ones recognize race?

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
Chrstne Chrstne 7 years
As a child, I knew I was white and other people were not, and I didn't think twice about it. I was told that's how people were made, and it doesn't matter at all. Everyone looks different from one another on the outside, but on the inside, we're the same, good people. My mom, dad, and grandparents stressed that fact to me. It didn't matter what anyone looked like, so I made friends with every race, and treated everyone equally.
Niami Niami 7 years
My son saw skin color as being the same thing as hair color. Some people have dark hair or skin and some have light colored hair or skin. It wasn't until he was 6 and at daycare when a dark skinned child said something racist towards him (for being light skinned) that he questioned why skin color was an issue. In appearance we are white, but his great great grandfather was from Spain and my great great grandmother was Native American. I didn't ever think to point out differences in skin color or tell him about racism. I don't believe racism should even exist. We're from VA, where racism was pretty bad and it was a very sad day for me to have to explain something like that to him. Thankfully he still does not judge people on the color of their skin, even though it is often done to him.
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