Pre-Schoolers Prefer Same-Ethnicity Playmates: Study

Tristin Hopper, National Post, June 21, 2011

Along with finger painting and story time, Canadian preschools are also spilling over with ethnic tension, according to a study released by Concordia University.

“We found Asian-Canadian and French-Canadian children seemed to prefer interacting with kids of the same ethnic background,” said report co-author Nadine Girouard in a Tuesday release.

At mixed-race daycares throughout Montreal, researchers took Asian-Canadian children and French Canadian children, ranging in age from three to five years old, and paired them up in rooms with “attractive toys” such as a marble track or a Sesame Street-themed playhouse. When put in with members of the same race, children happily played together. When mixed with different races, however, the children usually opted to play alone. Preschoolers “express a preference for same-ethnic interactions,” reads the study.

The revelation is nothing new. For more than 60 years, psychologists have been finding evidence of barely-toilet-trained children exhibiting prejudicial tendencies. In the late 1940s, American psychologists Kenneth and Mamie Clark tried to gauge the inherent prejudices of children by showing them black and white dolls and asking which was better. Whether the child was white or black, the child “indicated a clear-cut preference for white.” “It is clear that the Negro child, by the age of five is aware of the fact that to be colored in contemporary American society is a mark of inferior status,” the pair wrote. Their research was ultimately a factor in the 1954 US Supreme Court Decision to de-segregate public schools. In subsequent American studies, researchers have found black and white children self-segregating as early as kindergarten.

Prejudice in children first starts to crop up right around the age of three or four, says Frances Aboud, a McGill University psychology professor specializing in the development of racism in children. The first time children come up against different ethnicities, their initial reaction is “nobody in my family looks like that,” says Ms. Aboud. “Sometimes kids even go so far as to say that a child is intentionally trying not to look like him,” she says.

The Montreal study attributes the rift between the Asian-Canadian and French Canadian children to nothing more than cultural awkwardness. Rather than being driven apart by animosity, the two groups are simply baffled by one another. Raised in a culture of social restraint, the Asian-Canadian children were more likely to try to interact non-verbally with the French-Canadians by silently “cooperating” in playing with a toy. French-Canadian children, meanwhile, would try to engage their Asian-Canadian playmates in conversation. After a few confusing minutes, the two children usually found it easier to part ways and play in silence.

However, the “beauty” of the Montreal study, says Ms. Girouard, is that the Asian-Canadians and French-Canadians ultimately learned to overcome their differences and play together. “Children found mutually satisfactory and effective means of engaging one another,” reads the study. Once-subdued Asian-Canadians began to talk louder and French-Canadians responded by quieting down. “Each was able to import the culture of the other,” says Ms. Girouard. “Children, regardless of their ethnicity, want to play together and understand each other.”

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  • the Soviet Republic of New Jersey

    SURPRISED?

    Black kids do not want to play with Blacks. Blacks all know that Blacks are no good and dangerous to be near so why should white kids who are smarter be any different.

  • Disgusted

    The fact is that I wish they would stop printing articles like this. It will lead to nothing but more money to sponsor diversity programs , hire more non-White teachers , make the curriculum is less eurocentric etc… After reading this diversity advocate consultants must be rubbing their hands and thanking their lucky stars. This will mean a zillion opportunities for them to make a fortune with their lame brain ideas and programs.

    Sometimes ignoring such things can be better in the long run.

  • Tim Mc Hugh

    A couple of years back my buddy from the old neighborhood asked me to think back. Then he told me to describe the childhood gang as I remembered it. “Six White kids and a “Mexican” kid”, I told him. He gave me one of those smug pitying fool looks and then glided to a stop near the playground across from his house and my used to be. On it were five Black kids and a Korean kid…..The way they were dressed and acting made me remember my mom saying how “I was her representative on the block” and “The fact that your wearing a tee-shirt speaks louder than anything you have written on it”.

  • Anonymous

    Then the children grow into teenagers and start segregating themselves in the lunchroom!

  • BO_Bill

    My workplace is very diverse and I get to conduct my own sociology study every lunch. Here are the results of my sociology study: whites sit with whites, blacks sit with blacks, Asians sit with Asians, and Hispanics sit with Hispanics. From this sociology study I conclude that should America be forced to undergo a drastic reduction in its standard of living, social cohesion will be strained.

    Capitalization of the various races provided by Microsoft.

  • beautiful loser

    You know what comes next: mandatory Diversity submersion for all White children.

    The Afro industry will hysterically say that if Whites are left to their own preferences, then racism will run rampant and have devastating effects on social progress.

    Whites must be surrounded by blacks so their inherent racism can be constantly monitored and they can have constant opportunities to atone for the sins of segregation by holding themselves accountable to the beloved community of color for their unearned White privileges.

    White children who prefer to get away from the blacks will have a big “R” branded into their foreheads and their names will be posted on the internet so their racism can follow them the rest of their lives.

  • Anonymous

    People prefer their own kind. There is nothing wrong with this. Preference and prejudice are not the same. But whites are denied their right to exercise this preference, especially when it comes to immigration.

  • Wayne Engle

    Notice how the writer tries to style the preference for their own kind as “prejudice,” and concludes happily that they “learned to overcome their differences and play together” after a time.

    That’s all P.C. Happy Talk. The multi-cultis would so like for it to be that way, so we could all miscegenate and the White race would gradually cease to exist. But even kindergarten kids know better than these top-lofty liberals.

  • Anonymous

    In attempting to explain the results, the researchers abandon all scientific pretence, and instead lapse into ideological dogma.

    We know why humans are repelled by others who don’t look like them: it is a genetic unspoken language, carried in their features, which tells them they are not among their own.

    Because genetic group fitness is essential to our survival, we are born with race awareness, and a predisposition to draw back from those who are different.

  • Anonymous

    It’s like they don’t even understand the parameters of their own studies and their likely Pavlovian consequences. Children who are forced to play together will adopt preferential behaviors that ensure access to -someone- and -something- as companionship. But it will not mean happiness so much as instinctively feigned behavioral adaptation. Not to each other but to the supra-cultural norm: the teacher/study scientist.

    Who forced them together to begin with.

    The overt nature of racial preferences in young children is sublimated as social awareness of the penalties for those associative preferences rise. By the time they are in their teens and as adults they self-isolate among their own and simply ‘don’t talk about it’ as the comfort zone comes with certain social networking norms of behavior.

    But they never go away. And they are self reinforcing for the nature of the rewards system as cultural resource conservation access they provide. “I will come to you in preference to all others…”

    You can wreck a kid’s formative years by begining the sublimation process too early, at a time when their senses and instincts are sharpest, refusing them the sense of familiarity as comfort zone that encourages socialization thus leads them to isolation and distance, even from their own kind.

    ‘Negative aversive therapy’ only makes Pavlov’s dog howl because the sense of stimulus-return is never the same.

    Wait until these kids grow up. Wait until they are more introverted and inaccessible to their own kind because they have adopted alien cultural conditioning. Wait until they have no access through the culture barrier walls to benefit from knowing other ethnies’ habits because, _as adults_, it is still understood that you deal with your own.

    Wait until the social engineers wreck another innocence in their venal and vain pursuit of a selfish idealism that doesn’t need to be achieved to create a functional, global, society.

  • Anonymous

    “Children, regardless of their ethnicity, want to play together and understand each other.”

    No, they don’t. They were forced into an unnatural situation. As soon as they are no longer forced they’ll part ways.

  • Anonymous

    It gets much worse as kids age. They really self segregate when they hit puberty. I taught high school and all the blacks sat together and all the whites sat together.

  • sbuffalonative

    The revelation is nothing new. For more than 60 years, psychologists have been finding evidence of barely-toilet-trained children exhibiting prejudicial tendencies. In the late 1940s, American psychologists Kenneth and Mamie Clark tried to gauge the inherent prejudices of children by showing them black and white dolls and asking which was better. Whether the child was white or black, the child “indicated a clear-cut preference for white.” “It is clear that the Negro child, by the age of five is aware of the fact that to be colored in contemporary American society is a mark of inferior status,” the pair wrote. Their research was ultimately a factor in the 1954 US Supreme Court Decision to de-segregate public schools. In subsequent American studies, researchers have found black and white children self-segregating as early as kindergarten.

    These are two different findings. The article is dealing with children choosing to associate with their own race. The reference to the doll study shows a preference to white dolls regardless of race.

    How could the writer confuse two studies with such disparate conclusion?

  • Anonymous

    Wasn’t there a study that said that even babies under six months showed a preference for people of their own race?

  • Anonymous

    Whatever happened to freedom of association? And being free NOT to associate with those you don’t want to?

  • Anonymous

    The revelation is nothing new. For more than 60 years, psychologists have been finding evidence of barely-toilet-trained children exhibiting prejudicial tendencies.

    Long before they could have been taught “racism.” What does that suggest to you? That it’s an inborn trait among all races, not something that’s learned. So when can whites expect an apology for the claim that they’ve been teaching children to be “racist” all these years?

    Prejudice in children first starts to crop up right around the age of three or four, says Frances Aboud, a McGill University psychology professor specializing in the development of racism in children.

    Also notice the unquestioned assumptions on the part of this MSM writer. The word “prejudice” is routinely used. This is nothing but (dare I say it?) prejudicial labeling on the part of the writer and researchers. How about “inherent survival mechanism?”

  • Anonymous

    It’s like they don’t even understand the parameters of their own studies and their likely Pavlovian consequences. Children who are forced to play together will adopt preferential behaviors that ensure access to -someone- and -something- as companionship. But it will not mean happiness so much as instinctively feigned behavioral adaptation. Not to each other but to the supra-cultural norm: the teacher/study scientist.

    Who forced them together to begin with.

    The overt nature of racial preferences in young children is sublimated as social awareness of the penalties for those associative preferences rise. By the time they are in their teens and as adults they self-isolate among their own and simply ‘don’t talk about it’ as the comfort zone comes with certain social networking norms of behavior.

    But they never go away. And they are self reinforcing for the nature of the rewards system as cultural resource conservation access they provide. “I will come to you in preference to all others…”

    You can wreck a kid’s formative years by begining the sublimation process too early, at a time when their senses and instincts are sharpest, refusing them the sense of familiarity as comfort zone that encourages socialization thus leads them to isolation and distance, even from their own kind.

    ‘Negative aversive therapy’ only makes Pavlov’s dog howl because the sense of stimulus-return is never the same.

    Wait until these kids grow up. Wait until they are more introverted and inaccessible to their own kind because they have adopted alien cultural conditioning. Wait until they have no access through the culture barrier walls to benefit from knowing other ethnies’ habits because, _as adults_, it is still understood that you deal with your own.

    Wait until the social engineers wreck another innocence in their venal and vain pursuit of a selfish idealism that doesn’t need to be achieved to create a functional, global, society.

  • Gavrick

    Our twins (a boy and girl) have been attending a local Kindergarten in our German village for about a year. They tend to seek each other out to play, as the only Americans in their respective groups. There are Russian and Turkish minorities, (our kids are half-Russian, BTW) and they tend to stick to their own kinds, though they were all born in Germany. However, as our kids have improved their language skills, they have started playing more with other Germans. They avoid the Turks like the plague, and when a black girl showed up one day (mercifully, for just a day), my daughter referred to her as a monkey (thank God the teachers didn’t hear her), and steered clear.

  • Anonymose

    I have heard on a number of occasions of the issue of preference for white dolls or dolls with Caucasian features occurring worldwide. So what? It’s only dolls. And it’s only pop psychology.

    I don’t think the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court relied on the conclusions of the Clark study puts the high court in a good light. Basing a major, historic decision on pop psychology? I don’t think so.

    Not arguing with the court’s ultimate conclusion, that segregated public schools are unconstitutional. But construction of the Brown v. Topeka ruling has to be examined and perhaps called into question.

    No surprise really. Who was the lead lawyer for the plantiffs? None other than Thurgood Marshall, whose forte as a court member was the elevation of pop psychology into basic law.

    Not that Marshall was all bad. Until he was put on the Court of Appeals by President Kennedy he apparently was often financially distressed. After he was confirmed and starting drawing his salary, he bought a very large car, an Oldsmobile 98 if I recall correctly. After that he was seen driving around all over the Washington area. I think that was pretty cool, but that doesn’t justify his twisted legacy of racial preference, systematized racial classification, and anti-white discrimination.

    The world would be a better place if he had stayed on the other side of the bench.

  • olewhitelady

    Many blacks must be thoroughly frustrated with the constant message that they can and must perform at a white-standards level. Blacks who work at traditionally white jobs, who work with large numbers of whites, or who are in an interracial relationship must constantly feel pressure to behave as whites expect them to do. In the old days, whites only expected so much of blacks. Now, after a half century of liberal propaganda, many blacks are giving up and refusing to “act white” by getting a higher education, etc. I often wonder how many would welcome the old days, when being a Pullman porter was a prestigious black job or when a black guy could just be a shoe-shine “boy” and not be condemned for it.

  • Wordy Anonymous

    [email protected]:

    Then the children grow into teenagers and start segregating themselves in the lunchroom!

    They self-segregate long before they are teenagers.

    Elementary school children segregate themselves by race in the cafeteria unless seating is assigned.

  • Tom in Illinois

    I remember back in kindergarten and early Grade schools. In First grade, I was one in 15 white kids in the class. We all stayed in groups separatly, but in same race. Two blacks were the only minorities in the class…and guess what? The two blacks always sat together.

    Even when I was a kid and maybe too young to realize it, but I always felt it would prove beneficial that I’d stick with my own race…and 26 years later never would I have guessed it was one of the greatest, and quite possibly live-saving things I’ve ever done in my life.

  • Anonymous

    Anyone having worked around and interacted with pre-school children of mixed race can observe in the more detailed behavioral acts and omissions plenty of indication compatible with the results of this sort of study. That children can be induced to override natural distancing reflexes is clear enough from such observation alone . Gender distancing is also naturally rooted in young children. Some sort of technical fetish in the behavioral sciences seems to warrant total disregard to observation and anecdotal evidence and, indeed, to what grandmother and her mother’s mother held as operating assumptions

    (known by those with the luxury of observing it all from an ivory tower as “prejudice”). There is good enough reason to suspect that a lot of what is “detected” in formal studies that seem to repudiate grandmother is in reality the eroding effects of mass media upon what otherwise might be apparent as natural dispositions.

  • Anonymous

    Another weakness of the article and perhaps the study: no mention of the children’s sex. Only in the minds of the politically correct are boys and girls entirely a social construct. In the real world, aside from a tiny minority, we are sexed from the womb onward. Some more than others, all (save for a tiny minority) sexed to some degree. And girls play with girls in girl ways while boys play with boys in boy ways. That alone, with no race component at all, can explain the results described.

  • Tooth Barkington

    This article made me think of something I witnessed at one of the branches of the Seattle Public Library recently. An adorable, well-behaved white girl, about seven years of age, was sitting at one of the computers typing an email. At the adjoining computer was a squirming black girl, about the same age, gabbling unintelligible gibberish. The aggressive vocal noises obviously had something to do with the white girl’s blond hair, because the black child was grabbing and pulling on it while the latter looked straight ahead, aghast and disgusted, and too terrified to resist this proxemic violation, since the scowling black mother was in the vicinity, staring off into space, unconcerned. There were library personnel only a few feet away, who couldn’t bring themselves to intervene. The black girl was obviously alien, frightening and repellent to the white girl, and the latter was learning that although she was required to be quiet and dignified in the library, the hostile and repulsive behavior of blacks would be tolerated by the adults in her life, and she would not be protected, not even by her own mother, who was sitting not far from her, unable to act. I found this heartbreaking.

  • Merlin

    Come on now, give these kids a chance.

    Lets talk to them after they hear how evil it is to be white and how whites are only takers not givers.

    Wait until the schools fill their heads with all the Great black accomplishment in science in the arts in the development of rockets and medical equipment then ask the same kids who they want to play with.

    They just don’t realize at this point all the wonderful advantages a no good white person would have if they were fortunate enough to gain a brilliant imaginative go getter such as a great black friend.

  • Nonny

    To Tooth Barkington, what happened to that little girl was terrible. But this isn’t a racial issue, this is the issue of her OWN mother not bothering to stand up for her own little girl. Period. There is no way i’d tolerate anyone bullying my kid, black or white.

    What kind of mother just sits there when her kid’s hair is being pulled? Library or not and political correctness or not, I would’ve pulled my own daughter away and giving Little Miss Hair Puller a good talking to and if her mother intervenes, her too.

    You cannot allow people to bully you and your children and blame political correctness for your impotence. She obviously didn’t care enough about her own child to protect her, making her an easy target. Serious Parenting Fail.

    As for self-segregating, it’s just easier to talk to people you have something in common with. We all self-segregate and it’s more fun to talk to someone when you don’t have to edit or compromise most of what you say. That is why nerds hang with nerds and jocks with jocks, and asians with asians and whites with whites. It’s not racist, just human beings looking for an easier life. Besides it’s not as if this research can be enforced anyway, people will just find covert ways to segregate- so lets not make PC research like this into a unnecessary boogieman.