The Study of Man: How Children Become Prejudiced
A GROUP of seven-year-olds at a progressive school were reporting what they had done over their Thanksgiving vacation. A dark-skinned Negro boy, one of the most popular children in the class, said he had gone to watch television at the home of his uncle, Jackie Robinson. “That’s impossible! His uncle can’t be Jackie Robinson,” a white boy shouts out. “Why is it impossible?” the teacher asks. “Because Jackie Robinson is colored!” This seven-year-old already knew that “colored” meant something to the world, but it meant nothing concrete to him; and his bizarre confusion is typical of children’s awareness of race. But his ability to use such general terms as “colored” will grow as he grows; in a year or so he will know that Jackie Robinson is colored, and that his schoolmate is colored, too. Whether he will also be “prejudiced” toward Jackie Robinson and his schoolmate, and just what his “prejudice” will consist of-these are more difficult questions.
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