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Ross 1 Jordan Ross English IC Professor Ramos 6 April 2013 Youre Never too Young to be a Racist Racism is prevalent

in America and is ubiquitous in all generations of Americans. Popular culture spreads ideologies on racism and can imprint ideas into children. Popular culture and society, directly or indirectly, help children as young as three years old understand and utilize racial concepts to be supercilious and alienate other individuals. Irrevocable damage can be obtained by children if they are left to individually develop concepts on race and ethnicity. Children at young ages selfidentity themselves and categorize others into racial demeaning groups. Children have a sophisticated idea on what race is and how to manipulate race to create advantageous circumstances that benefit their race and reject another. To directly accuse and disparage one certain element for the actions of racial behavior in children is nonsensical. Through a combination of films, advertisements, crosstalk, and the attitudes of schools and parents it can affect children to develop racial concepts that are present in todays society. Race and ethnicity being used in a demining racist manner are frequently thought of as an adult concept that is controlled exclusively by adults and young adults. But, it can be seen that children have developed racial concepts and express these racial concepts openly to other children. Authors Debra Ausdale and Joe Feagin, in the book The First R: How Children Learn Race and Racism, describe a sociological observational study. The study was a pure observational study that [c]ome from extensive observations of fifty-eight preschool-age children over nearly a year in a large preschool in an urban setting (Ausdale and Feagin 38). The demographic of the preschool is: white (twenty-four); Asian (nineteen); Black (four); biracial (for example Black and white; three); Middle Eastern (three); Latino (two) and other (three) (Ausdale and Feagin 39). The preschool has

Ross 2 an adequate representation of diversity and the preschool had several racially and ethnically diverse classrooms and employed a popular antibias curriculum (Ausdale and Feagin 39). The United States is becoming a more diverse multiethnic society and the representation of the preschool is an adequate reflection of society. At the daycare Brittany, a 4 year old white girl, argues and tells mike, a 4 year old black boy, that he cannot have a white bunny because [b]lacks cannot have whites (Brittany qtd. in Ausdale and Feagin 102). Corinne, a 4 year old African/White girl, offers to watch over Renees, a 4 year old white girl, white colored doll and Renee responds to this and states, No, Youre from Africa [] I dont want any Africans taking care of her. I want an American. Youre not an American, anybody can see that (Renee qtd. in Ausdale and Feagin 139). Children are able to cogitate on concepts of race and ethnicity to separate groups from one another and deem one group as inferior. A 3 year old dark skinned girl named Taleshia is playing in a sandbox when Brittany, a 4 year old white girl, states, Youre the same color as rabbit poop (Brittany qtd. in Ausdale and Feagin 109). Brittany then picks up rabbit poop and holds it to her arm and says, see your skin is shitty [. . .] you have to leave. We dont allow shit in the sandbox (Brittany qtd. in Ausdale and Feagin 109). This shows that a four year old is capable of understanding and manipulating race to deride an individual. Taleshia is singing when April, a 3 white girl, gets annoyed and says, those arent the right words, you stupid nigger and she attempts to cover her mouth and says stop th at singing, stupid nigger (April qtd. Ausdale and Feagin 112). Carla, a White/Asian 3 year old, during sleep time decides to move her bed, and when the teacher asked why she moved Carla replies to the teacher, [I] cant sleep next to a nigger she points at Nicole, a dark-skinned girl, Niggers are stinky. I cant sleep next to one (Carla qtd. in Ausdale and Feagin 97-98). Carla and April have the capability to develop racial remarks and categorize the racial concepts to disparage Nicole and Taleshia. An association of characteristics with race and ethnicity is connected and subjected to an overly conceptualized idea that focuses on the ridicule of a certain group. Currently children do have a sophisticated idea about race and they are not as innocent and unknowledgeable as some adults

Ross 3 want to believe. Children begin to develop an inner turmoil, which leads to children being ashamed of themselves and/or accepting stereotypes and racist ideologies to be true. These beliefs can further develop as the children grow to make them have prominent racist behaviors. In 1947, Kenneth and Mamie Clark did a study named Racial Identification and Preference in Negro Children, the study was about perceived racial identity in black children. 253 black children were asked to choose the doll that best represented the statement asked, such as give me the doll that looks bad (Clark and Clark). In the study, 59 percent of these children indicate that the colored doll looks bad, while on 17 percent stated that the white doll looks bad. (Clark and Clark). Children acknowledged and understood which doll looked bad, and [s]ome of the children who were free and relaxed in the beginning of the experiment broke down and cried or became somewhat negativistic during the latter part when they were required to make self-identifications (Clark and Clark). A study in 2007 was duplicated by Kiri Davis in the video Film School NYFA - A Girl Like Me. The small duplicated doll test shows that 15 out of the 21 children preferred the white doll. In the video when Kiri Davis asked the children why they thought the doll looked bad the children responded by saying, because shes black. CNN also conducted a similar segment study, in 2010, named Anderson Cooper 360: Inside the AC360 doll study. CNN sampled more than 130 racially and economically diverse children from 8 schools in the northeastern and southeastern regions of the United States. Using the same concept from the doll study, when white children were to point to the dumb child, about 76% of the younger white children pointed to the 2 darkest skin tones (CNN). When black children were told to show the color children would think looks bad on a boy, more than 70% of the older black children chose the darkest 2 skin tones (CNN). It is seen that through the course of 60 plus years, little has changed on how children self-identify themselves. Children at young ages, focusing on children with dark skin, self-identify themselves as ugly and bad. Although times have changed since the 1940s, racial injustice is still present in adults and children.

Ross 4 Popular culture is influential to children, because it indoctrinates certain stereotypical and discriminatory ideologies. Aladdin is a popular Disney film that sends racial ideologies to large amounts of children. Aladdin is a Disney film produced in 1992; according to Box Office Mojo under Aladdin, it was nominated for 5 academy awards and won 2 of the awards. The popular film was widely seen by children and received a domestic gross of approximately $217,350,219 (Box Office Mojo). In the song Arabian Nights an Arab narrator sings oh I come from a land, from a faraway place where the caravan camels roam where they cut off your ear if they don't like your face it's barbaric, but hey, it's home (Aladdin). A stereotype is perpetuated to the audience that the Arabian land is menacing, barbaric, ruthless, and violent. The association of the land/home being violent simultaneously reflects that the Arabs are violent. Jack Shaheen author of Aladdin Animated Racism states that, one would have to be very naive to believe that Hollywood would dare to use such a song if it did not see Arabs as belonging to an `other' or `alien' culture. Aladdin vilifies Arabs and it is seen countlessly through the film. Jafar, the guards and the vendor are seen have drastic Arab features and are seen to have mean, rude, and violent personalities. When Jasmine, the princess, gives an apple away to a starving child the vendor gets angry because she didnt pay, and he states the punishment is chopping off her hand (Aladdin). Shaheen raises the question, In this `family entertainment,' what impression of Islam is conveyed when a street vendor insists that the standard penalty for stealing is chopping off one's hand? Children then receive the ideology that Islam and Arabs are violent and menacing. Aladdin and Jasmine are the only exception to Arabs, but they have lighter-skin, Americanized accents, and more American characteristics. The characteristics associated with Arabs are slanted with the intention to classify these true Arabs to be bad, violent, rude, and barbaric. The reoccurring concepts of Arabs is played over and over and the successive themes drive home the view that these creatures are suspicious, lazy, unethical, and violent outsiders (Shaheen). This type of racialism is incessantly present through the film Aladdin, and this leads to an alienation of the others and a racial ideal on certain racial groups. Countless other films perpetuate

Ross 5 a stereotypical discriminatory ideology on other races too. Popular culture produces one of two outcomes, either the group is misrepresented in a racial stereotypical ideology, or they are not represented in the film. Children then can pick up on the alienation of others and can place them into social demeaning groups. The power of film is overwhelmingly powerful and can indefinitely shape the perspectives of children and young adults. Schools, directly or indirectly, can alienate ethnic minorities and contribute the persisting racial ideology that is present in children and adults. According to Poverty Rates for Selected Detailed Race and Hispanic Groups by State and Place: 20072011 by the authors Suzanne Macartney, Alemayehu Bishaw, and Kayla Fontenot from the U.S Census, by race, the highest national poverty rates were for American Indians and Alaska Natives (27.0 percent) and Blacks or African Americans (25.8 percent). Among the given race and ethnicitys, Hispanics also have a high poverty rate, among Hispanics, national poverty rates ranged from a low of 16.2 percent for Cubans to a high of 26.3 percent for Dominicans (Macartney, Bishaw, and Fontenot). Inevitably what happens when minorities are the majority in poverty ridden cities and counties is that the schools they attend are likely to be poorly funded. For example, according to the Los Angeles Times under Florence Griffith Joyner Elementary, the school Florence Griffith Joyner Elementary is 67.5% Latino, black 31.8%, and 0.3% white. Only 27.3% of the students scored proficient or above in English for the 2012 California Standards Test (Los Angeles Times, Florence Griffith. . .). The relationship between race and academic performance is great because of the location. But, by looking at two schools in the same city the juxtaposition between academic achievements and race is even more prominent. According to the Los Angeles Times under Jefferson Elementary School, Jefferson elementary school is 61.2% white, while only 16% is Latino and black. In 2012, students scoring proficient or above in the California Standard Test for Math was 87.9% while for English the percentage was 87.8% (Los Angeles Times, Jefferson Elementary. . .). Harbor City Elementary is 82.8% Latino, 8.2% Black, and 2.4% White; Harbor City Elementary is only 8 miles away from

Ross 6 Jefferson Elementary (Los Angeles Times, Harbor City Elementary). At Harbor City Elementary, 68.1% children scored proficient or above in math and only 49.3 scored proficient or above in English in the California Standards Test (Los Angeles Times, Harbor City Elementary). There is a noticeable race differentiation between Harbor and Jefferson, and there is a corresponding overly between minority concentrated schools and poor academic performance. White children can then classify other children as being stupid or inferior based on the observational appearance of schools and students. Other than poor funding to schools and unequal faculty, teachers can send racial ideological cues to children as well. In the article Are Teachers Expectations Different for Racial Minority Than for European American Students? A Meta-Analysis by Harriet Tenenbaum and Martin Ruck, it conducts a meta-analysis of different studies to describe teacher bias. Tenebaum and Ruck concluded that [t]eachers favored European American compared with African American children. But, teachers also directed a [m]ore positive and neutral speech toward European American children than towards ethnic minority children (Tenebaum, Ruck). This type of either direct or indirect action from teachers can change the perspective of children to believe they are better or worse than a group of people. And teachers expectations can create children to develop racial attitudes or self-confidence issues. Carl Bankston and Stephen Caldas from the article Majority African American Schools and Social injustice: The Influence of De Facto Segregation on Academic Achievement state that, If we do not face up to the self-perpetuating nature of educational racial injustice in our society, we will not be able to overcome the racial inequality that continues to plague our young people, and their current unequal educational opportunities. This statement holds many truths because it can be seen that the educational system favors one ethnicity and can alienate and subject another ethnicity to racial inequality. This kind of differentiation and unequal educational providence can create alienation and lead white children to develop a supercilious mentality. If children are exposed to enough of racial ideologies then they become susceptible to be

Ross 7 influenced by the illusion of power over another group. When children are given the illusion of power they can develop very racial attitudes to justify their power. In the video A Class Divided, Jane Elliott is a teacher who conducts an experiment on racism and discrimination on third graders. In the late 1960s she told her class that blue eye people were better than brown eyed people. She then gave collars for the brown eyed people to wear and gave certain advantages for the blue eyed people. The children automatically began categorizing brown eyed people into social demeaning groups. Elliott describes the children and says I watched what had been marvelous, cooperative wonderful thoughtful children turn into nasty vicious discriminating little third graders in a space of 15 minutes (A Class Divided). On the next day Elliot changed the roles and stated that brown eyed children were better than blue eyes, and as expected the brown eyed children began to discriminate the blue eyed children. This experiment shows the power on how fast children can change the dynamic of their perspective on certain individuals. And if a child can change his/her perspective on an individual in a day, then a lifetime of racial ideologies spread through society can indefinitely shape childrens minds. The children in the study did not only develop racist and discriminatory attitudes but they exceeded in academics. Jane Elliot states, I gave little spelling test, math test, and reading test two weeks before the exercise, each day of the exercise, and 2 weeks later and almost without exception the students score go up on the day theyre on the top, down on the day theyre on the bottom and then maintain a higher level for the rest of the year after theyve done the exercise (A Class Divided). This directly shows that children in 24 hours can excel in academics and diminish in academics based on the group being idealized. Looking in todays society, if constant portrayals of race are deemed inferior and constant pressures are applied for racial inequality then children will mold their behavior based on the expectations placed on them. Children learn the basic foundation on race and racism and through time they may cement their racist attitudes. According to Racism: A Very Short Introduction by Ali Rattansi, some 75% of African American now achieves a high school diploma. But only 14% earn a college degree (142). People subjected to racial inferiority and

Ross 8 injustice can be seen to have more of a struggle in academia, as seen through the study and the statistics. Rattansi also states, Black children are almost three times are likely as white children to grow up in officially defined poverty [. . .] unemployment rates for black men have remained stubbornly at at least twice that of all white men for a very long period (141). These statistics are only aided through time as children begin to absorb ideological concepts being taught to them. Childrens perspective on race and racism is very complex and seen to develop at young ages. There are a various amount of variables that can be responsible for the persisting racial behavior in children. But, it is for certain that children do obtain racial attitudes and these attitudes can further develop and create racist behaviors. The racist mentality in children leads to an alienation of other groups and a destruction of any possible egalitarian society. Racist ideologies are passed through to children from popular culture, poor school faculty/funding, racial expectations, and others. By the development of racist attitudes at an early age, modern day segregation begins to take place. Children alienate others and develop a superior mentality, and the racial beliefs can become cemented into the individual until it seen as factual. The mythological ideas on race and ethnicity spread through all forms in society and are taking a destructive place among children in the United States, which help racism prosper. With the help of society creating racial inequality, and popular culture degrading and misrepresenting races, you are never too young to become a racist.

Ross 9 Works Cited "Aladdin." Box Office Mojo/IMDb, n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2012. Aladdin. Dir. Ron Clements, and John Musker. Walt Disney Pictures, 1992. Video. Ausdale, Debra V., and Joe R. Feagin. The First R: How Children Learn Race and Racism. Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2001. Print. Bankston III, Carl, and Stephen J. Caldas. "Majority African American Schools And Social Injustice: The Influence Of De Facto Segregation On Academic Achievement." Social Forces (University Of North Carolina Press) 75.2 (1996): 535-555. Academic Search Premier. Web. 9 Apr. 2013. Clark, Kenneth B., and Mamie P. Clark. Racial Identification and Preference in Negro Children. n.p, 1947. Web. 15 Apr. 2013. CNN. Inside the AC360 doll study. Youtube. N.p., 17 May 2010. Web. 9 Apr. 2013. Los Angeles Times: Local: Neighborhoods: South Bay: Torrance: Schools: Harbor City Elementary. Los Angeles Times, n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2013. Los Angeles Times: Local: Neighborhoods: South Bay: Torrance: Schools: Jefferson Elementary. Los Angeles Times, n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2013. Los Angeles Times: Local: Neighborhoods: South LA: Watts: Schools: Florence Griffith Joyner Elementary. Los Angeles Times, n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2013. Macartney, Suzanne., Kayla Fontenot, and Alemayehu Bishaw. Poverty Rates for Selected Detailed Race and Hispanic Groups by State and Place: 20072011. U.S. Department of Commerce, February 2013. Web. 20 Apr. 2013. Newyorkfilmacademy. Film School NYFA - A Girl Like Me. Youtube. N.p., 16 May 2007. Web. 9 Apr. 2013. Rattansi, Ali. Racism: A Very Short Introduction. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007. Print. Shaheen, Jack. "Aladdin animated racism." Cineaste July 1993: 49. Academic Search Premier. Web.

Ross 10 Works Cited (Cont.) 20 Apr. 2013. Teddy Gibb. A Class Divided. Youtube. N.p., 27 Nov. 2012. Web. 9 Apr. 2013. Tenenbaum, Harriet R., and Martin D. Ruck. Are Teachers Expectations Different for Racial Minority Than for European American Students? A Meta-Analysis. Journal of Educational Psychology 99 (2007): 253-273. Web. 4 Apr. 2013.