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National and Global, United States

Monday, October 5, 2009

Racist Babies?

Sorry, new parents, your babies are racist, said Matt Coker in California's Orange County Weekly. That "unwelcome news" comes from a Newsweek story about a study by University of Texas researcher Brigitte Vittrup, who found that small white children had negative ideas about racial differences, even though their parents were raising them to be "colorblind." The study found that 14 percent of those kids—ages 5 to 7—said their parents didn't like black people; 38 percent said they didn't know how their parents felt.

OK. Now, we are conducting 'gallup polls' with 5-7 year old children to ascertain 'racism' in their families. I'd like to know how you actually position the question to kids who are somewhere between kindergarten and first grade? 38% stated that they didn't know how their parents felt. When I was 7, I don't think I knew either. The issue was not on the agenda. I think I was more concerned about other things, like 'finger painting' and playdough. Do we actually think that kids this young have a real position on the subject? Are kids,both 'black and white', colorblind to the issue at that age? Or is it 'black and white' to them?

James Balwin wrote:
"Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them."

In that, I would surmise that it is not the 'question', but the action that determines the adult outcome of this issue.

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