After finding my most recent resources I think I can confidently come to a topic and main idea. The research focuses on how students learn to be raced individuals in the elementary classroom. I can incorporate looking at race in the home on how parents foster children’s perceptions of race and the effects of parents teaching children about race and not teaching their children about race. It can bring to light the importance of not treating race as a forbidden topic because doing so leaves children confused and uninformed. Next I can incorporate how race is perpetuated within the classroom and the effects teachers have on students through teacher implicit biases. Sharing the bias that teachers bring into the classroom further perpetuates the notion that race is experienced in the classroom. Additionally, I can incorporate the students perspectives on how they view and experience race. Proof of students seeking interracial friendships at a young age but then lessening in optimism as they grow older can further the discussion of how the elementary classroom impacts race. Throughout the different view points I can also share my own personal experiences and perspectives as both a child at home, a teacher in the classroom and a student in the school system. Ultimately I want to argue the importance of facilitating discussions about race within both the home and the classroom. Through the awareness and inclusion of diversity, students can become well informed and educated on the topic of race and create their own opinions instead of blindly falling into notions of discrimination just because of being fearful of the unknown otherness of other races.
In a study, students were shown different pictures with one colored student and one white student. In the first picture the white student is walking in the halls and a black student in front of him is falling. In the second picture their races were swapped. Students were not given any context to photographs as to keep the study ambiguous. Both white and African American students were tested, and similar images were shown to 6 year olds. When testing 6 year olds an overwhelming majority of white kids were negative about interracial friendships, while the majority of black kids were positive about the experience. But by age 13 the optimism from young black children fades. At age 6, 59% believed in the positive interracial friendship, however by age 13, 63% did not think the students in the image were friends. The expert explains that the decline happens because students have been given a “sobering reality check on race.” Optimism declines after many years of negative peer interactions where black students are constantly told that they are not the same and do not belong.
Continually students were asked about interracial dating and many kids mentioned the views of their parents. Both white and black students claimed that their parents would be disappointed and unaccepting of interracial dating. Besides parents, racial prejudice also happens within schools. Studies showed that students in majority white schools were most pessimistic about race. However, in racial diverse schools most students were optimistic. According to the psychologist, the experience of diversity within the schools allows for friendships to grow which is the most powerful thing that can reduce prejudice.
There is a continuing important of addressing race within the classroom. Many studies have shown that even very young children are aware of the powerful effects of race in our society as they think about what it means to be African, Asian, European or Native American because children need to make sense of their world. “When teachers avoid the subject, pretending that it doesn’t exist as an issue, or when they portray its existence as merely a fringe issue, they are sending a very strong message…But when teachers find ways to address the effects of race in society, we have found that children feel liberated.” Teachers must educate themselves of other races and then become confident and build the courage to openly talk about it. The article mentions that a young black boy, the only child of color in the class, was taught at a young age to see color and be aware of his blackness. However, all of the other white students were not taught to think about their race. When a child asks a mother why a black student “smelled funny” the mother simply responded “Everyone is different and that’s fine.” By treating the whole topic as somehow forbidden and undiscussable, she conveyed her fear about the “otherness” of the black child. Ultimately “We need to develop new ways of listening and a willingness to hear uncomfortable or even disturbing remarks from our students. Allowing the space for students’ comments and questions isn’t easy. Nor is sustaining it. But the rewards are rich – both liberating and enduring.”
A new report from the Yale Child Study Center has found evidence of implicit racial bias among preschool teachers. Approximately 135 preschool teachers watched footage of 4 students (one black and one white boy, and one black and one white girl). Using eye tracing technology research showed that a majority of the teachers spent their time watching the black boy, almost expecting bad behavior. The problem with this is that if you are only looking in one place for bad behavior, that is the only place you will find it. An additional study was done where teachers were given various examples of students and their at home situations to measure teacher’s sympathy towards students. The results showed that when teachers are of the same race from the student they were more empathetic, however when the teacher is of a different race from the student they became less empathetic. According to the researcher “Implicit biases are a natural process by which we take information, and we judge people on the biases of generalizations regarding that information. We all do it.” If we are going to face the challenges of implicit bias in schools, we have to talk about it.