Perspectives on Race

A Discussion about Events Concerning Race

Can Babies Be Racist??

with 5 comments

I just read a really great article in the Sept issue of Newsweek magazine asking the question, Can Babies Be Racist?? It talked about how many parents do not directly talk about race with their children, and if they do it’s usually to late to reverse the ideas already created within child’s head. Many parents only talk treating everyone “equal”, but the researchers found that many of the children ended up asking their parents what equal was long after it had been discussed with them. Parents need to speak with their children directly about race and give examples and be explicit with their children. You cannot assume that children just know what you’re talking about. The research also showed that children who were talked to directly about racial issues early on were more likely to be ‘non-racist’.

After reading this article I was greatly impressed by the research and findings and have decided I will be one of those parents to explicitly discuss racial issues and equality early on with my children. This means according to the article before the age of 5 years old. What do you guys think?

PS- if you are interested enough to read the full article the link is:


Written by mhenderson108

September 17, 2009 at 1:04 am

Posted in Uncategorized

5 Responses

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  1. Man, I definitely think that it is important to talk with children explicitly about racial issues at a young age, ESPECIALLY if they are not living in a community where there is a lot of diversity. I feel like so many families who do not consider themselves racist and who talk with their children about equal opportunities live in almost entirely racially homogenous communities. I know that this was my experience growing up. I was almost completely surrounded by white, middle class people until highschool, so my perceptions of race and issues surrounding it were very closeminded and one sided.


    September 17, 2009 at 1:27 am

  2. While I agree with the premise of the article and the comment by mhenderson108, I also think that even more important than simply discussing race with your children is the everyday responses and mannerisms in which you as the parent deal with issues of race. Children are very aware of their surroundings and pick up on everything. If a parent says one thing and then acts in another way that is contrary to what they had told their child, then that lesson would be a fruitless endeavor. So, even more important than mere conversation, is the way that the parents analyze their own race relations and convey those values through their own examples. I believe that if parents were to strive to accomplish both these actions, then children would be much more receptive to race issues and how to act and think beyond their own comforts and group categorizations.


    September 17, 2009 at 4:58 pm

  3. I agree with the poster before me… I know for a fact that young children are very perceptive and many times understand more than parents realize, therefore mannerisms and daily examples of dealing with racial issues should be just as, if not more important than simply ‘telling’ the children how to act. I myself am hispanic, european, and african american but I look white- I always feel offended if someone around me is being disrespectful and have on many occasions spoken up in order to correct them.


    September 17, 2009 at 9:52 pm

  4. I think it’s important to make sure that your kids know about equality. Growing up in a fairly diverse environment, it was easy for me to be able to understand racial conflicts. But I think if I was born in a different place, my parents would have had conversations with me that explained racism.


    September 17, 2009 at 10:51 pm

  5. I think environment is the most important determinant of social behavior. Nurture trumps nature in this case in my opinion because people are not predisposed to racism. It’s not in their genes, only in their head. It’s a social construct that is both created by one’s environment and reinforced by it (considering that said society/ environment is racist). Babies and by extension young children cannot differentiate between what is right and what is wrong and what is moral and what is immoral. They must rely on their environment to teach them.


    September 18, 2009 at 6:01 am

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