ERIC Number: ED118266
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1975-Aug
Children's Responses to Color as a Determinant of Race Attitudes.
Williams, John E.
This theoretical paper is concerned with the evaluation and preference responses of preschool children to light- and dark-skinned human figures. The paper examines the hypothesis that in children the frequently observed bias favoring light-skinned persons over dark-skinned persons is not a racial bias but is related to early learning experiences such as the aversive experience of hours of darkness which becomes associated with negative affect. The major sections of the paper include: (1) a review of the well-known molar phenomena regarding racial attitudes and preferences and the customary explanations of these based on social learning experiences involving cultural norms, (2) a summary of some recent research findings which challenge the adequacy of an exclusive dependence upon social-cultural learning theories, (3) the proposal of a revised theoretical interpretation which takes into account the early learning experiences of the child and his subsequent contact with social norms, and (4) a brief consideration of some practical implications which stem from the revised theory (e.g., that pro-light/anti-dark bias in younger preschool children is not bona fide racial bias and is modifiable under appropriate learning conditions, and that generalization of bias to racial contexts could be prevented by abandoning the color coding practice of designating Afro Americans "black" and Euro Americans "white"). (GO)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association (83rd, Chicago, Illinois, August 30-September 3, 1975)