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Evaluation of small children on matter of racism

Racism is one cause of conflict around the world. In order to make an effort to limit the negative effects of racism the problem must be resolved with the adults of tomorrow. As the united kingdom continues to be one of the most cosmopolitan global societies a more multicultural view of contest must surely be followed for a harmonious society to flourish. The aim of this literary review is to critically analyse records surrounding the evaluation of young children on this issue of racism. It's been claimed that, 'child morality throws light on adult morality. If you want to form men and women, nothing will fit us so will for the duty as to examine the regulations that govern their creation. ' (Jean Piaget, The Moral Wisdom of the Child. )

The literature mentioned will be looking at the role in which society plays in the forming of racist ideals. Whether these opinions can be found from labor and birth or whether their emergence begins during the child's early development. Can children exclude another simply anticipated to race or is this a notion created by people?


Before going any more it's important to specify what Racism happens to be. The word itself has various connotations and therefore a single meaning is hard to reach at. It might be fair to suggest that the majority of the definitions indicate the interpersonal superiority of a lot of people over other categories of people credited to inalterable factors such as contest, culture or ethnicity. John Rex (1986) explained his described his theory of racism stating, 'It doesn't really matter whether this is because of men's genes, because of the record to which their ancestors have been exposed, as a result of nature of their culture or because of divine decree. Whichever is the case it could be argued that this man is an X and this, as an X, he is bound to have particular unwanted qualities. ' He also differentiates between racism and racialism, which he explains as 'unequal treatment of various racial groups. ' while racism is a 'notion about a racial group'. It is the Rex notion of racialism which brings about the forming of prejudice and in the end leads to discrimination. (All cited from Haralambos p169)

With these meanings in mind any difficulty. Racialism is to hold someone in contempt because of their creed, colour or ethnic background while to racism is more of the lived experience. The earliest division of society through race was the medical categorisation of folks within the Caucasoid, Mongoloid and Negroid divisions. The obvious distinctions in the categories could not be dismissed although this collective terminology is becoming less popular over time and is known as a more racialist viewpoint. Scientific differences in the categories have been employed by extremists throughout background to aid ideals of the superiority of one group over another with Nazism being a best example.


The proven fact that racism is an experience an individual may live through is suggested by Albert Memmi (2000). It must be the case for many children that their experiences of racism are first side and that they are on the acquiring end of somebody else's racist views. As the Early Years Base Level (2007) curriculum looks to address provision for equality and equal opportunities it needs to be the truth that some children's earliest acquaintance with racism is at school. Memmi would advocate that every time a individual meets an individual or group of folks who's different or not known that it would be the natural reaction to form, could be conceived as, a racist impression. His sociological research has looked into negating notions of racial prejudice and focusing on how they are made with a view to counteracting racism. This is a concept which is shown in the EYFS who ensure that providers of early child care must have positive behaviour towards diversity and difference to ensure that the children should value diversity. Memmi, unlike various other social researchers (name some) will not support the viewpoint which implies that everyone has racist views however he does indeed acknowledge that 'racism is the most commonly shared part of the world' (p129) and continues on to state that regardless of competition, ethnicity or faith the prospect of racism exists in every social groups. Facts indicate that racism is an all natural occurrence and although grouping occurs within the developmental curve it generally does not will have to lead to the formation of prejudice (Memmi). While methodical grouping has been partly licensed to the progress of the Sociable Darwinsim theory the theory itself was latterly applied to race.

Memmi and Piaget are both of the judgment that racism is a topic which, if tackled at an early enough stage in a child's development, can be trained and to a spot controlled so that as the kid becomes a young adult it will have a wide understanding of diversity and you will be able to add positively to population. These views are also mirrored in the EYFS. The denial of apparent racial dissimilarities would be nave and acknowledgement of them is not racist and facilitates the years as a child developmental norm of grouping to enhance cognitive development. Piaget's cognitive development theory leads us to assume that children, through the preoperational stage, do label things in after they have experience of them and will so it employs that children will group people based on the colour of these skin. The theory would also state that children are not able to very seriously understand the implications of ethnic grouping through the early, egocentric periods of development. This 'colour blindness' has been looked at by some as a intensifying way to counter the development of racism within children.

But how do children become racist? It's been acknowledged that a large area of the development of a child is taken up with developing one's own id. If this is actually the circumstance then it is conceivable a child cannot form prejudice against others as they are egocentric. False according to ausdale & feagin, the 1st R. The assumption that children are unaware of racial difference and that they do not separate society into ethnic communities has been known as 'coloring blindness' however Derman-Sparks et al completed research which drew the conclusion that 'children are extremely much alert to racial variances' and even proceeded to go so far as to state that 'many are also aware of racism'. Their newspaper questions children from a multitude of cultural backgrounds, all of them within Piaget's preoperational stage and the findings highlight different view points of contest posed by children from oppressed racial or social backgrounds to people organised by white children. The study displays the Memmi proposal that racism is a lived experience. Children from a 'third world' history asked questions about whites and racism while white children exhibited interest in people of colour however their remarks shown stereotypes and, in a few, a negative frame of mind. This result conflicts Piaget (1932) and Kohlberg (1969) who both transfer that children below age seven do not have the cognitive development to unfold the social and moral reasoning behind their groupings. Because of this the children aren't displaying the idea of superiority essential to become classed as racist. The work of Denman-Sparks highlighted the early signs or symptoms of grouping although it is hard to determine how reliable their conclusions were. When aiming to measure the children's behavior as the occurrence of the researcher has shown to change a child's reaction (Agar, 1980; Murphy 1985) (How small children perceive race p17). It's been recognised that the kind of questions asked can transform the type of answer received. Where children have been asked specifically about an individual the answers received contain qualities of the individual in question. Questions about organizations often get answers loaded more by ethnicity. (Holmes (How small children perceive competition p18).

If regulations in the united kingdom wouldn't normally make children accountable for their actions in a unlawful sense then it could stand to reason that, by the same reasoning, children could not be in charge of any racist views which they may utter.


While many have researched this issue of racism between children there seems to be little, if anything, written to claim that researchers have struggled to gather data anticipated to barriers created by their own cultural background and criticism persists on the consistency of data which has been gathered by adults. It might be interesting, therefore, to collate responses on and around this issue of contest from children if the info were collected by a child. It has been demonstrated that children do not act normally when there can be an adult in the room whether a connection prevails or not. If a child could be primed to ask questions on the topic and maybe even observations completed on children in their familiar area when met with racial or ethnical variations whether reactions would be different. This is criticism which has been levelled at Piaget amongst others by Van Ausedale (p7) who in addition has question whether, ultimately, Piaget's cognitive development theory can be employed to children's knowledge of racial/ethnic difference.

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