Children aren’t born racist. Here’s how parents can stop them from becoming racist.

Source: Lisa Selin Davis, CNN, June 6, 2020

May Ling Halim, associate professor of psychology at California State University, Long Beach, and Sarah Gaither, assistant professor psychology and neuroscience at Duke University. Halim and Gaither study race, gender, identity development, stereotyping and social perceptions. In collaboration with Kristina Olson at Princeton, Yarrow Dunham at Yale and Kristin Pauker at the University of Hawaii, they are embarking on a National Science Foundation-funded study, looking at the racial and gender biases in children of many racial groups across five geographical regions to learn how culture influences bias.

[Two of Sarah Gaither’s recommendations for parents of young children:]

Parents need to have friends of different races and ethnicities. There’s research with children showing that the racial makeup of a parent’s friend network is much more telling of the types of racial attitudes that kids will end up having. If you have a completely racially homogeneous set of friends, all white for example, that child is going to be less likely to have a more open view of what race is. 

[Parents] also need to be aware of their non-verbal behaviors — the body language we show in different contexts, often without knowing it.

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