Awareness of Ethnicity-Based Stigma Found to Start Early

Sarah Hutcheon, EurekAlert, August 30, 2011

Students are stigmatized for a variety of reasons, with youths from ethnic-minority backgrounds often feeling devalued in school. New research on young children from a range of backgrounds has found that even elementary school children are aware of such stigmatization and, like older youths, feel more anxious about school as a result. Children who are stigmatized are more likely to have less interest in school, yet ethnic-minority children in this study reported high interest in school in the face of stigma. For some students, feeling close to people at school helps them maintain higher levels of interest in academics, despite the potentially negative effects of stigmatization.

The findings are from researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, and New York University. They appear in the journal Child Development.

Researchers studied more than 450 second and fourth graders in New York City with ethnic-minority backgrounds (specifically, African American, Chinese, Dominican, and Russian) or ethnic-majority backgrounds (European American). The children were asked questions about their awareness of stigma, anxiety about school, interest in school, and feelings of belonging in school.

Differences in the young children’s awareness of stigma were similar to differences among adults, with ethnic-minority children generally reporting more awareness than ethnic-majority children. There were few differences by grade, suggesting that even second graders are sensitive to ethnic attitudes in society.

Ethnic-minority children also reported higher academic anxiety, which the researchers attributed to their greater awareness of stigma.

But the study also found that some ethnic-minority students reported significantly higher interest in school than their ethnic-majority peers, despite past research showing that awareness of stigmatization is associated with lower interest in school. For Dominican children in particular, this seemingly paradoxical finding was explained, in part, by their feelings about belonging: For these youngsters, feeling close connections to people at school accounted for their high levels of interest in school, despite their awareness of stigma.

The study has implications for intervention efforts, suggest the researchers. Programs aimed at decreasing students’ perceptions of group stigma (such as community role models) could help keep students’ academic anxiety in check. And school-based interventions that foster close connections among individuals at school may help students stay interested in learning.

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  • racially insenstive joke

    I’m racially stigmatized all the time for my Whiteness, leaving me feeling overvalued and much under-utilized.

    The elite MSM culture stigmatizes me as selfishly hording the cure to racism. If I will just “do more to atone for the sins of segregation by holding myself accountable to people of color,” racism will be eradicated and the Achievement Gap that holds blacks down will immediately be closed and they will rise up to take their natural place of equal standing with the Asians, Jews, and Whiteys in class rankings.

    To be stigmatized with such an awesome and heroic responsibility for winning social justice for the African race leaves me feeling “hurt, isolated, and frightened.”

    I know I’m not up to the task of doing such wonders as are demanded of me. I know that the black race’s refusal to enter Western Civilization just become I grovel and “do more” proves my weakness and ineffectiveness at bringing about positive and lasting change.

    The elites demand more of me that even God does. I am unworthy. Leave me alone. The blacks will need to advance on their own and without any more of my help. I’ve done enough. If they aren’t all top SAT scorers by now, then let’s just admit failure and surrender to the Iron Laws of Nature: everyone has a place, and they should stay in it!

  • Anonymous

    This is why segregation is natural and preferable. Any idiot could know this without so much science or statistical analysis.

    Trying to force everyone into the Marxist ideological mold is driving everyone crazy.

  • Mr Jones

    “Ethnic-minority children also reported higher academic anxiety, which the researchers attributed to their greater awareness of stigma”.

    Another completely-backwards news story? Ethnic-minority children do seem to feel greater ‘academic anxiety’, at least Asian ones do? This reminds me of the famous doll test. Young black children, when asked, or even when ‘observed’ preferred to play with a white doll, and by some backward reasoning, this was seen as proof ‘integration’ was necessary? I suspect the children were already racially-aware, and I would personally say already young racists, and their racial-awareness is what was really was being measured.

  • Anonymous

    Where did they find any White children except for Russian immigrants in New York City?

    Did they talk to the Chinese children about the bullying and beatings they endure from Dominicans?

  • Anonymous

    That’s funny.

    I feel victimized by so many minority second graders in my country.

    Where is my support group? Oh yeah, it’s Amren. How many millions is it getting subsidized by the government these days?

  • Anonymous

    Close observations of the interpersonal jokes and laughter of

    young middle class Caucasian children in non-segregated programs for pre-school and kindergarten , for example, reveal a fair amount of natural and spontaneous generation of racial humor and jokes among themselves–e.g., Blacks being characterized as “m**k*ys” etc. and jokes about mental slowness. As almost no middle class children hear racial humor ,etc., this seems to be spontaneously and naturally generated. No one contends it should be indulged any more than, say, childhood sexual contact would be indulged. But it is adequate reminder of what a Big Lie the Blank Slate dogma is and what severe limitations are inherent in any War Against Nature.

  • Anonymous

    I feel stigmatized when I see a job advertisement that states that only bilingual spanish/english need apply.

  • Anonymous

    Ethnic-minority children also reported higher academic anxiety, which the researchers attributed to their greater awareness of stigma.

    SURE! Gotta’ throw in the schmaltz somehow!

    Look, if a kid SUCKED hard at sports, and was forced to play, they’d feel anxisty, and stigma…because they SUCKED!

    Well, you get the rest…

  • Jake

    Here (from Wikipedia) are the recently compiled demographics of New York City:

    “The city’s population in 2010 was 33% white (non-Hispanic), 23% black (non-Hispanic), and 13% Asian. Hispanics of any race represented 29% of the population, while Asians constituted the fastest growing segment of the city’s population between 2000 and 2010; the non-Hispanic white population declined 3 percent, the smallest recorded decline in decades; and for the first time since the Civil War, the number of blacks declined over a decade.”

    Obviously, the younger residents get, the less European American they get. Treating the latter minority as a non-stigmatized majority in New York City schools (or even within the city itself) would be laughable, were it not so intellectually dishonest!

  • Anonymous

    “The city’s population in 2010 was 33% white (non-Hispanic), 23% black (non-Hispanic), and 13% Asian”.

    Not only are there fewer young whites, West hating Arabs are likely a considerable portion of those being labeled as white. I personally know ‘Hispanics’ who label themselves as white.

  • Anonymous

    Re post #06

    Aside from the PC barriers to research in various politically

    designated “no go” zones, early childhood development research is hampered by a kind of campus fetish for controlled studies and heavy data crunching. Observation, field work, and anecdotal evidence is needlessly disdained, although it is obviously fallacious that there is any either/or necessity to do so vis a vis controlled studies. The monumental work of Arnold Gesell at Yale in the 1940’s regarding child development, individual and group differences revealed the strong role of nature in individual and group differences–and gender differences especially. He was donated massive movie cameras from Hollywood to enhance precision and clarity (and deflate distractors?). Today’s technology would facilitate many many such efforts on a vastly enhanced and augmented basis. As with individuals, so with societies–what they evade can be more revealing than what they purport to seek.

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    Students are stigmatized for a variety of reasons, with youths from ethnic-minority backgrounds often feeling devalued in school.

    This is one more in a VERY long line of excuses for abject “ethnic-minority” failure.

    It is also a call for more money…The study has implications for intervention efforts.

    Years ago, the entire school K-12 curricula was twisted around to pander specifically to black and hispanic “self esteem” in the hopes that school anxiety and the achievement gap would be reduced i.e., they’d see “someone who looks like them” in their text books.

    Textbooks now extol the virtues of black discovery, invention, bravery and courage in the face of White genocidists. Hispanics are portrayed as gentle souls who had their land wrested from them by foaming at the mouth White racists.

    Black “history” and holidays are celebrated, MLK has been beatified and properly martyred as a fallen hero (with Cesar Chavez coming on strong in the Southwest). Chinese New Year is observed, studied and honored, Cinco de Mayo is feted with school dances, celebrations, costumes and praise. All this while traditional White holidays have been stuffed down the memory hole.

    Just try celebrating Christmas or Easter in the schools!! Lincoln or Washington’s Birthdays? No longer noticed, rolled into the all-purpose President’s Day for which nothing is done. Columbus Day? Not on your life!! Even Thanksgiving Day is considered a day of mourning for Native Americans.

    Programs aimed at decreasing students’ perceptions of group stigma.

    New York City Schools are 30.9 percent black, 39.7 percent Latino, 14.4 percent Asian, and 14.5 percent white.

    Lefties in New York demanded all-black schools and separate classes for boys and girls as a way to raise their group “self-esteem.” Beginning in the mid-90s, the feds looked the other way as public schools in NY began serving just one race or gender.

    Fifteen years later, faced with the same failures, the money grubbers have come up with yet another excuse to justify the grants upon which their careers depend. What HASN’T been tried?

    Has anything ever worked? NO.

    But then, that’s the point. How else to justify forking over yet another 10, 20, 30 or more million fiat dollars on another program destined to fail. Maybe THIS one will work?

    Yeah, right.

    Bon