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15
11
Yes No
Debate Score:26
Arguments:17
Total Votes:27
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 Yes (11)
 
 No (6)

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atypican(3843) pic



Is teaching kids about racism a cause of racism?

I had an interesting conversation about racism with my nephew the other day, during which he stated that "I never even thought about racism until they taught us about it in school"

I know from personal experience that there is something to that. I grew up in a multiracial neighborhood and got along with other children who were of a different race just as well and often times better than with other kids who were the same race as me. As far as I could tell we were all blissfully ignorant of it's existence. Unbeknownst to me I was living the dream MLK referred to. I didn't judge others by the color of their skin, but instead by the content of their character.

But guess what? Finding out about racism poisened my attitude. By the time I was a teenager I started having trouble being around people of another race without thinking.."Do they think I am racist?" or "Are they racist against whites?"

Yes

Side Score: 15
VS.

No

Side Score: 11
3 points

Once the idea of racism exists, it's pretty hard to be yourself around people who are of a different race. Not because what you do is wrong, but because it could be misconstrued as racist, and that shit can make someone paranoid (especially an anxiety filled person like me).

If the idea that people hate others because of their race is not known, it's a lot easier for people to just be themselves around other people.

3 years ago | Side: yes
Swryght(158) Disputed
1 point

The challenge however, is that racism exists in us at a deep level, regardless of whether the idea of racism is consciously present as an "idea" in our minds. Cognitive science has demonstrated that our tendency to prefer those who look like us is an innate trait, rather than a learned behavior. It has also demonstrated that racist biases exist in most of us, regardless of our conscious attitudes. Implicit cognition studies have shown that even Whites who believe in the fundamental equality and humanity of all races still exhibit racial biases at an unconscious level. For this reason, it is important to teach children about racism, because ignoring a problem does not render it unproblematic. In this case, ignorance is not bliss.

3 years ago | Side: No
Elliott(30) Disputed
1 point

The cause of racism for me was actually being around minorities; I wasn't racist until I actually met enough minorities to come to a conclusion on their general behavior. I watched in horror one day at school and saw a black student stealing fried chicken, this moment really opened my eyes. I began noticing patterns in the way certain groups of people act.

For me black people caused my prejudiced view of black people.

One the other Hand racism is just so hateful, and ignorant, and bad. Golly, I can't for the life of me see why anyone could possibly think certain races are smarter than others; I mean only about 80% percent of black people I know use double negatives and can't conjugate state of being verbs correctly. That's hardly any evidence at all.

2 years ago | Side: No

This is a really, really good question, and I'm so glad you brought it up. I also grew up in a multicultural neighborhood in New York City, and that was at a time where racism was still accepted (1950s). I myself am second generation Italian, and my friends were a mix of Italian, Irish, Black, Jewish, and Latino races and ethnic groups. I was never taught about racism, seeing as I grew up with and, at times, helped support the Civil Rights Movement in the 60s, but I discovered it when I was around 7 or 8 years old. It didn't change my way of acting around my ethnic friends, but it did change my outlook on life and racism in general.

Now, that being said, teaching our children about racism is very important. Parents need to teach their children about racism so that they know what kind of evils are out there, and how to combat and/or avoid them. If parents didn't teach kids about racism, they would probably have a different experience growing up, because they'd have to learn about it themselves, and kids who grow up in a non-diverse area will never really learn about racism, because race-relations in their town or neighborhood are just white white white white. We teach our children about the Holocaust so that no one forgets, so that such an atrocity can never again be committed. It's for this same reason that we have to teach our kids about racism, so that they know what's going on, and so that they can make their own decisions - hopefully the right ones - about race, racism, and many, many other things as well.

3 years ago | Side: yes

racism is pure ignorance and hatred. One someone is racist, it is easy manipulate one who can't think for themselves. I can turn racist now and feel hatred for different kinds of races. But i have to remind myself that it is ignorance and just pointless.

I do think children were aren't intelligent would fall in the trap. I know especially one child i see on youtube, and i doubt she would fall into racism. But seeing her un normal intelligence doesn't really guareentee that she won't turn into a racist.

I think that maybe the topic of racism should be start in Sophmore years. That is when most kids have friends of different culture and go "wtf" as they read ignorance. Although racism is ignorance, it did play a part of America. I think it is important to learn what the Civil War is about and the importance of Martin Luther King Jr.

Dunno im not a psychologist. I think they have better say of when kids should learn racism.

3 years ago | Side: yes
1 point

Yet often times, certain people (of a race different than mine) seem to have a way about them that dispells that funky feeling without doing anything specific that I can explain.

Comments?

3 years ago | Side: yes
1 point

I snagged this link from one of bohemians posts on another racism oriented topic. I think Morgan Freeman would argue on the yes side of this debate. :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GeixtYS-P3s

3 years ago | Side: yes
3 points

Racism exists unconsciously, and is conveyed to children early on via social conditioning and implicit messages via society, the media, and parents.

Here is a link to a very interesting study, which not only found evidence of racist attitudes in very young children, but also found that these attitudes were prevalent among children of parents who had never talked to their kids about race:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2009/09/04/see-baby-discriminate.html

Teaching children about racism and its history can only serve to inform them of what is already going on inside them, and help them to resolve this issue for themselves.

While children may be consciously unaware of racism prior to learning about it from their parents, they are certainly aware of it unconsciously long before that.

3 years ago | Side: No
atypican(3843) Disputed
1 point

Racism exists unconsciously, and is conveyed to children early on via social conditioning and implicit messages via society, the media, and parents.

Here you are admitting that it is conveyed. Would race consciousness develop into racism without the social conditioning and implicit messages? I tend to think it wouldn't. At least not as often.

Here is a link to a very interesting study, which not only found evidence of racist attitudes in very young children

Which is odd because the title and headline mention children as young as six months, but the article only mentions children of reading age who were exposed to implicit messages as a "first step"

(which BTW is a great example of the point I am making with this debate)

Just read the questions they used in the study. They are racism inducing questions if you ask me.

, but also found that these attitudes were prevalent among children of parents who had never talked to their kids about race:

The people at the "Children's Research Lab at the University of Texas" who set up this study are woefully unaware of child psychology and drew worthless conclusions from a pathetically flawed study.

Teaching children about racism and its history can only serve to inform them of what is already going on inside them, and help them to resolve this issue for themselves.

I wonder what other "expert studies" helped you to draw this absolutist conclusion.

While children may be consciously unaware of racism prior to learning about it from their parents, they are certainly aware of it unconsciously long before that.

Being racially aware and being racist are not the same thing.

3 years ago | Side: yes
Swryght(158) Disputed
2 points

First, I find it interesting that you have chosen to criticize my methodology here. Specifically you have chosen to criticize the article I referenced (which you seem to have only read the first page of). Meanwhile, as far as I can tell, you have not provided any evidence for your position except for 1) a conversation you had with your nephew, and 2) your subjective reflections on your own childhood experiences. While these experiences may be relevant, they are far less scientific than the evidence I am presenting. Below are my responses to your criticisms.

"Here you are admitting that it is conveyed. Would race consciousness develop into racism without the social conditioning and implicit messages? I tend to think it wouldn't. At least not as often."

Based on this response, I'm guessing we need to review the definition of the word "implicit." The word means to express a message without directly stating it. In the context of cognitive psychology, the word refers to subtle messages conveyed and perceived unconsciously, which can influence cognition and therefore behavior. This definition should clarify the apparent problem you are taking issue with here, as my point is that racist attitudes and beliefs can be implicitly conveyed to children regardless of whether they are explicitly stated as well.

"Which is odd because the title and headline mention children as young as six months, but the article only mentions children of reading age who were exposed to implicit messages as a "first step""

I'll give you the benefit of the doubt here and suggest that perhaps you didn't notice that the article I provided is six pages long. If you read past the first page, you'll see where six month olds were tested. Also, the messages you are referring to are not implicit, they are explicit. Children in these studies were also tested prior to being spoken to about race.

"The people at the "Children's Research Lab at the University of Texas" who set up this study are woefully unaware of child psychology and drew worthless conclusions from a pathetically flawed study."

Any article will seem pathetically flawed if you read only one of six pages. I'm sure the well-educated researchers at the University of Texas would be curious to hear about how your methodology of talking to your nephew and recollecting your own experiences is superior to their empirical peer-reviewed study involving one-hundred families. To me it seems that until you provide more evidence for your own position, your criticism here is left somewhat neutered.

"I wonder what other "expert studies" helped you to draw this absolutist conclusion. "

I shouldn't have used the word "only" here, but I stand by the heart of my assertion. The work I use to justify my position is based in multicultural psychology. Janet Helms' model of White Racial Identity stipulates that one's relationship to one's race develops over time as a result of interaction with members of other races. The implicit beliefs one holds (based not only on explicit parental messages, but also implicit messages and societal conditioning) interact with the realities of one's lived experience of race and culture, producing a racial identity. This racial identity changes over time in concert with broader psychological changes and in response to critical events in a racial context.

If children are not exposed to their status as racial beings, they run the risk of falling into what D.W. Sue refers to as "ethnocentric monoculturalism," in which one denies the existence of racism yet nevertheless believes one's one racial and cultural worldview to be superior to others'. The danger here is that those who are not taught about racism would potentially be at a greater risk of acting racistly without awareness.

"Being racially aware and being racist are not the same thing."

I don't think I said anything like this. I agree with you on this point, but I don't see the relevance to the present discussion.

3 years ago | Side: No
2 points

I don't think by teaching kids about the existence of racism is a cause of racism, I believe it's HOW you teach the kids about racism. If you instill your personal ideas about being racist this can influence a child's outlook on racism because a lot of children take on their parents views. I believe kids should not be taught about racism and the history of racism until they are at least old enough to form their logical opinion by themselves from what they have learned from the history of racism and what they learned about people of other races while growing up.

It can only contribute to the cause of racism if we teach them to be racist not just teaching them about the history of racism.

3 years ago | Side: No
atypican(3843) Disputed
2 points

I believe kids should not be taught about racism and the history of racism until they are at least old enough to form their logical opinion

Why?

3 years ago | Side: yes
1 point

Why because I don't believe kids in grade school would fully understand the impact of racism throughout history and what effect it has had on the world.

3 years ago | Side: yes
2 points

It really depends on what words are associated with the word racsim, if it's shown as "wrong" then kids will be brought up disliking racsits or disregarding them as fanatics.

3 years ago | Side: No
atypican(3843) Disputed
1 point

Teaching a kid that "racism is a big problem in this society" (wrong) and that racism is "judging people not by their behavior, but by the color of their skin" seems like plain old straight talk, but how these lessons effect them developmentally is a bit more complex. I can testify personally to that.

3 years ago | Side: yes


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