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ERIC Number: ED531544
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 33
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 126
ISSN: ISSN-1075-7031
Promoting Equity, Tolerance, and Justice in Childhood. Social Policy Report. Volume 25, Number 4
Killen, Melanie; Rutland, Adam; Ruck, Martin D.
Society for Research in Child Development
Children around the world are affected by discrimination and social exclusion due to their age, race, ethnicity, gender, religion, indigenous background, or other statuses. When considering the negative consequences of discrimination and social exclusion on children's development and well-being, it is of paramount importance to examine the psychological origins of prejudice and discrimination in order to create effective intervention programs. Legal mandates are only one step towards the elimination of prejudice and discrimination; there is also a need for interventions to change social interactions and behavior. Surprisingly, such interventions are rarely informed by developmental theory and research. Taking an international perspective, this "Social Policy Report" describes a developmental framework on how children understand the cultural hierarchies, status, and power related to social groups as well as the social exchanges that contribute to both prejudice reduction and the promotion of equity and justice concepts. Hierarchies in the child's world reflect the organization of the peer culture, which often reflects categories of status from the adult world (e.g., based on race, ethnicity, and gender), but are manifested differently. Understanding these hierarchies provides an important window into how prejudice is formed and manifested in development. Effective interventions require understanding how it is that children experience discrimination as victims and also as perpetrators of exclusion, and how adults are powerful sources of both negative and positive influences. We identify relevant research findings on the positive and negative aspects of peer relationships, adult-child interactions, and changes in social cognitive development that bear on reducing prejudice and promoting concepts of equity and justice. Childhood, when attitudes are only just beginning to formulate and develop, is the time for implementing effective interventions designed to promote equity, tolerance, and justice. (Contains 2 tables.) [Commentaries from Richard W. Cole, Maykel Verkuyten, and Lonnie Sherrod are included. Commentaries are individually referenced.]
Society for Research in Child Development. 2950 South State Street Suite 401, Ann Arbor, MI 48104. Tel: 734-926-0600; Fax: 734-926-0601; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Society for Research in Child Development