white and black children biased toward lighter skin...

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Esther - posted on 05/14/2010

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Sharon: So you all think we're genetically predetermined to dislike minorities/people different from ourselves?



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No, I don't think that at all actually. I think it's a learned preference. I think from childhood on we all get subliminal messages that white is good and black is not. In fantasy movies, the evil knights are dressed in black and the good guys in white. The color of mourning is black, the virginal color at a wedding white. Jesus is caucasian in most depictions (even though historically speaking he's more likely to have been darker skinned) and is usually dressed in a white robe, etc. etc. I think we usually don't even think about it anymore and I don't think it's intended to send any racial message (at least not anymore) but I do think that most of us still make that subconscious association of white = good and black = bad.

Emma - posted on 05/16/2010

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I think that even when you take external influences out of the equation, we all seek out people like ourself s, we feel more comfortable around someone that's just like us, this dose not just go for skin colour, we divide our self's up with in our ethnic groups too,
the rich will gravitate to other rich people, the poor with poor, Goth's don't hang out with metal heads,
Those are our comfort zones and i don't think there is anything wrong with that, i only see a problem with it when it becomes imposed segregation. and when people are unwilling to interact with others from other groups.
I used to live in a neighbourhood where i was only one of a handful of white people and you do feel like an outsider, not because anything was ever said of done just because i really stuck out in a crowd, (im really white i don't tan i just burn and get whiter)
It makes me laugh as ive been asked a few times about if i have any problems with an inter racial marriage in SA as im not my hubby is white but has a tan if he's standing next to other tanned white people he's no darker than they are its just because im so dam white lol

Tah - posted on 05/15/2010

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we didn't do the study in class, it was for the class and you had to bring your results in. It was a online study were you, out of instinct had to associate either good or bad with black or white. i don't think it was the exact study linked on here by esther but, it was online as well so the class couldn't have tilted it either way. i am going to go online and see if it's still there, i start my 3rd semester of psychology developmental psych this time...(told you erickson and I were buddies..lol) this summer so they may have restricted my access to

material from classes ending last week, if i can copy and paste it I will. I think that the media does influence what we see as beautiful and good and bad. As i stated before, the woman who burned her skin off trying to lighten it, it is not just here, it is in other countries as well. The media has a big influence of what we think and feel.



Look at the paper bag test, years ago, If you weren't the complexion or lighter than a paper bag then you weren't allowed to enter. Mind you this was black people using this test on each other. even blacks were biased to lighter skin then. This test (the one from the thread) was performed on children during segregation times and the results were the same as this mostly and caused the courts to desegregate. Here we are years later with the same outcome. I don't think that we are genetically predetermined to choose one over the other but i think society, and media has a big influence over it though...

Suzette - posted on 05/14/2010

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@Tah,
I can see for ages 5-10 that they don't change all that much, but from ages 5 to adult there are significant changes. Studies in classes I think can be biased, I know mine were in sociology, different study though nothing to do with race. Any study can be biased based upon what we believe (or want) the outcome to be. (But I know that you know that from sociology and psych classes... one of the fundamentals of the teachings. lol) Of course, media influence in many ways doesn't seem to change throughout the years, they just play it down a little here and there. At least, that's my perspective on things. They still report on the negative more than the positive, whether it's about race or not. It'd be great if we could see more positive, but positive doesn't seem to make their ratings.

Christa - posted on 05/14/2010

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Did any of you actually read the whole study? It's 44 pages but I skimmed through most of the results. It's not actually how AC portrayed it. It seems that most students picked their similar skin tone for the good traits and the opposite skin tone for the bad traits, with many of the results being statistically insignificant. Which I think is normal for a child to correlate themselves with the positive and the others with the negative. Kids are very self centered. They have the 1947 results there too, I’d like to compare them to see how the kids answered back then, but I don't have that time right now. :-)

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Rosie - posted on 05/15/2010

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yeah, the other day i went into a gas station with my shorts on, first time the attendant saw me with shorts on. he jumped back, shielded his eyes, and was like, "damn, girl!! get some sun on them pasty white legs!!" lol, i about died of embarrassment.

Suzette - posted on 05/15/2010

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LOL Laura, I do that all summer long, not just the first day. The kind of tanning that I do is turning into looking as red as a lobster! There is no such thing as a tan for me. Ah well, i've come to accept it. :) Though I am definitely a bit jealous of my niece's skin tone... she has that perfect olive colored skin. She's hispanic and white... beautiful colored skin. I am dreading when she reaches Junior High, she's going to have little boys lining up asking her to dances. Little ringlets of goldish brown, greenish blue eyes, and that skin... with just a little speckle of freckles on her cheeks. I hope she continues to focus on school and doesn't even notice boys until after highschool! LOL!

Isobel - posted on 05/15/2010

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and the first day of summer that I wear shorts...people are blinded by the flash off my paper white legs...it's not good ;P

I would prefer, by far to have my friend's skin, she is dark and her skin looks like perfect chocolate silk...I am soooo jealous.

Suzette - posted on 05/15/2010

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@Tah,



"I think that the media does influence what we see as beautiful and good and bad. As i stated before, the woman who burned her skin off trying to lighten it, it is not just here, it is in other countries as well. The media has a big influence of what we think and feel."



I agree that if we allow it to, then the media can have a big influence on what we think and feel. As children, we aren't aware of what the media is doing so it's harder to not allow this to happen. If our parents know what is going on they can help with the filtering process. You know the whole 'skinny is beautiful and this isn't or this woman is more beautiful than this one because she has a bronze skin tone and this one is too pale' kind of thing. (As Laura pointed out in her post.) Honestly, as Laura said, I don't think it's about the darker skin color and the pale skin color anymore, it's more about the medium skin color being acceptable.



Laura said it perfectly actually, " I don't think it's just LIGHTER skin...it's medium skin that the entire world prefers...look at how many white women give themselves wrinkled leather skin, or worse, skin cancer trying to make themselves darker...my skin (pasty white) is no more a goal for anyone than the darkest brown."



The only thing I'd add to Laura's post is to look at all the spray tans they have out and the skin lotions that are supposed to give you that "natural" bronze color if you use them enough. How many women throw money at those products so they can look perfectly bronzed? How many pale women that is. In all honesty, I was thinking about trying it once upon a time. I'm whiter than white, or so I've been told. Hell, I've been told I look like casper the ghost... LOL! But I gave up on the whole "tan" thing. I came to love my freckles and pale complexion and figure that those who don't see that as beautiful can kiss my lily white hiney. Just as I hope that those who are darker than what is perceived by society as the "perfect bronze" have come to that conclusion.



"I don't think that we are genetically predetermined to choose one over the other but i think society, and media has a big influence over it though..."



I do agree that media has a big influence over what is considered beautiful, whether it be the shape of a body, women or men, or the color of a person's skin tone. It's not right, but the only way to fix that is to let our children know that beautiful isn't on the outside. I'm hoping that what I put into my niece's head is sticking there. (Beauty is from within and if you let yourself be ugly on the inside it won't matter how gorgeous you are on the outside.)

Celia - posted on 05/15/2010

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Tah I agree, Society and media have always put the good toward the white faces on the whole and the bad or nutral toward white faces. Yes things are changing but its a long road to change both societal and cultural/familial traditions. Is color preferance a tradition. I think it is. We teach our kids about alot in life through our actions both subliminally and by thoughtful action. I am not at all suprised that children of American African origin prefer a lighter skin tone... I wonder how a more recent imigrant family from africa would see themselves.. oh but then I am forgetting the influence of colonialism in Africa. Ok then what about a family who has never known people of power to be white. Because that is really what it ends up being. Kids want to be sucessful, powerful, do well in life, make money, be famous and on the cover of magazines... So I guess what it means is we have to understand the subliminal messages we may be sending our kids and take proactive action through thoughtful teaching to counteract both the media, society and our own subliminal preferences. I think that understanding and acknowledging we have those preferences is a good first step, just saying you are not racist dosen't necessarily make it so.

Isobel - posted on 05/15/2010

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Again, I don't think it's just LIGHTER skin...it's medium skin that the entire world prefers...look at how many white women give themselves wrinkled leather skin, or worse, skin cancer trying to make themselves darker...my skin (pasty white) is no more a goal for anyone than the darkest brown.

Isobel - posted on 05/15/2010

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They did another study though, world wide and found that there are some things we ALL find attractive...the hips-waist-breast ratio (Twiggy and Marilyn Monroe had the same ratio), even features, light to medium skin (pale isn't preferred either...I think the colour of Brazilian or Spanish skin is supposed to be perfect).

This debate could go on forever...there are some things that are learned and some things that are pre-programmed.

ME - posted on 05/15/2010

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I was thinking the same thing Cathy...I am Irish with...well, you can practically see through me I'm so pale...If we are biologically predisposed to preserve our features, then that would (at least partially) explain preference for lighter skin (which I seem to have). It would NOT explain why the little kids all had a preference for lighter skin tho (nor would it explain why adult persons of color prefer lighter skin)...

Tah - posted on 05/14/2010

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didn't have time to read them all as i am on the way to an overnight shift but i will say @Suzette...Not in general changing or changing according to Erickson, he and i have met many times...lol...we all know his stages, i meant in that with the study from the 5 year olds, to the 10 year olds and then the study we were asked to do in class. so along these lines of thinking..not it hasn't seemed to change much..but neither has media influence....

Iris - posted on 05/14/2010

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AC just came on over here so I'm watching..
Esther.
I took both the tests and the conclusion was: "Your data suggest little to no automatic preference between African American and European American." The same with the light skinned dark skinned test.

Sharon - posted on 05/14/2010

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Very cool Esther.

I suppose we generally focus on more positive shows/movies/role models, maybe more so when they involve minorities. The bad guy in Lord of the Rings was essentially white, lmao.

Carolee - posted on 05/14/2010

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Racism of any kind is learned. My parents did a good job of trying not to 'influence' me in either direction, although I was mainly surrounded by white people while growing up. I've ALWAYS been attracted to darker-skinned people. I think everybody is an idiot at times, no matter what they look like.

Rosie - posted on 05/14/2010

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i agree with esther. whether we mean to or not, everything that is considered good is white, and bad is black. i am guilty of this as well, i didn't take the test, but i just know that i find lighter skinnned black people more attractive, but i find darker skinned white people more attractive, weird. i think biracial kids are beyond beautiful. but i can also look at taye diggs and put him on my top ten list, maybe even top 5 (that boy is fine, lol!). i think it's got a lot to do with media covereage of what's considered beautiful. just like we're subjected to thousands of super skinny models everyday, we think skinny is beautiful. we are also subjected to white models all the time so we find that attractive. white baby dolls, white barbie dolls, white everything. it's alll around us.

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I think there's truth to the study. The bias might have been caused by the society these kids have grown up in.

Krista - posted on 05/14/2010

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I did the race one too, and got this: Your data suggest little to no automatic preference between African American and European American.

It was exhausting, though. I may need a nap before trying the others.

Suzette - posted on 05/14/2010

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Sharon, I'm with you on thinking that this is bunk. Of course, I don't believe much of what comes from CNN anyway, especially their studies. And, when watching the first group of children, the way their eyes constantly flickered to the camera, it looked like they were looking for approval in what they were saying. The second child, who was alone - which was kind of odd that they only had one kid alone who appeared to be white but actually could have been of latino descent for all I know - he appeared to have been coached in what he was saying. My niece is about the same age as he is, or as he appears to be, and she doesn't know that much about the history as of yet. (She's learning it this coming year.) The last group, they appeared to be answering as if they were telling the truth, without hesitation in most of their responses. I definitely don't approve of the guy moving the little card in the angle where the kids could point to what he seemed to want them to point at.



In police interviews, when they're trying to get them to point out a suspect that they want, in one of my criminal classes last year, they do things like this to "point" the person in the right direction. Kids are not idiots, they can read subliminal messages, especially if they've been coached previously.



I'd like to see a psychological study done recently that says the same things, with more than just 5 children. That's done with child psychologists, not by a news network.



@Tah,

As far as children not changing much from ages 5 to adults, you'd be surprised how much a person changes in that timeframe. Erik Erikson developed the most widely known theory of life span development, called the theory of psychological development, starting from infancy to the sixties and onward. It explains how one develops psychologically, how they learn in infancy, adolsecent years, adulthood, and so forth. They change throughout each stage based upon learning and experience, and gather values based upon morals from each stage. A person can change immensely in their adolescent years, and if they have a problem identifying themselves in their adolescent years (as some do) then it could take them well into their adult years to figure out who they truly are. So, some adults in college may not know who they truly are. You might find Erik Erikson's theory interesting before stating that people ages 5 - adult don't seem to change that much. Just thought since you studied sociology that you might find this interesting too. ;) (Even though it's psychology - they are related.)

Esther - posted on 05/14/2010

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BTW - I did the "light skin vs dark skin IAT" and I too am "guilty" of having a moderate preference for light skin. I did the race test too and did not seem to have any preference one way or another there.

Tah - posted on 05/14/2010

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@Esther we did this type of test in sociolgy class for an assignment and most people had this bias and the white people in my class were very upset because they thought it was saying they were racist, my teacher had to calm a few people down and tell them that it didn't mean that...and this is college so from 5 to adults it doesn't seem to change that much...

Sharon - posted on 05/14/2010

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So you all think we're genetically predetermined to dislike minorities/people different from ourselves?

Tah - posted on 05/14/2010

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i tend to think it has some merit....i was watching the price of beauty with jessica simpson...i know i know...lol..but..there were some countries that think the same way..they equate beauty and good things with lighter skin and do horrible things to get it..one woman bought this stuff to lighten her skin and it literally burned her skin off..it was sad...i don't think they are saying that these children won't play with one another because of skin color, it has more to do with what they equate with being bad or good etc...it was a remake of the study done that led to school desegregation and i thought it interesting that the views of children hadn't changed from then to now..

Esther - posted on 05/14/2010

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Actually - I don't think it's bunk. Harvard did a study several years ago and it showed the same results. I first heard about that study in an article written by someone who's mother was African American and his father was caucasian. He had taken the test fully convinced that if anything he'd have a bias toward dark skinned people because he adored his mom. He too turned out to have a subconscious bias toward white people (which greatly upset him).

You can take an abbreviated version of the types of tests they did here: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/de...

ME - posted on 05/14/2010

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I think it's horribly sad...but I'm not that surprised. I learned that this was the case when studying psychology and counseling. I can't deny that our media and our culture suggests such things both consciously and unconsciously on regular basis. It's terrible that such young children have already internalized these "messages". I don't know how to fight it...but I think it's a good reason to keep those Ethnic Studies classes as part of our curriculum!

Sharon - posted on 05/14/2010

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i wonder what ghetto and trailer park volunteered their kids for that experiment?

You won't hear that around here. My 3 kids are pretty damn white looking and my middle childs' best friend is black. Well, was, until he moved away.

I think its bunk.

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