Racial Bias in Japanese Kindergarteners?

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[Via Japan Times] “Are kindergarteners racist? Do they discriminate between children with different skin colors?

“Children are too innocent,” one Japanese mother told me in a survey of parents’ views. Her conclusion: “They do not hold racial prejudices.”

As innocent as children may be, extensive research conducted in the United States and Europe has shown that children as young as three have the capacity to discriminate against others based on race. However, little research on this topic has been conducted in Japan, a more culturally homogeneous society than most in the West.

In the U.S., people of all different races identify themselves as American and not an eyebrow is raised. But in Japan, people who look or speak differently are often labeled a “gaijin,” an outsider. No matter how “Japanese” a person might feel, this label acts to set them apart from the Japanese people at large. This is harmful and unfair.”

All this begs the question:

  1. To what degree are Japanese children racially biased?
  2. Are there differences in the attitudes of Japanese children attending international schools and those that study in less diverse environments?
  3. If a kindergarten-age child is prejudiced, how did this come to be? Understanding the answers could suggest ways of reducing bias and preparing Japan to meet the challenges of demographic change.

Click here for the rest of the story! Photo credit Satoshi Hata

5 Comments

  1. Not to debunk, just adverting demonic advocacy;
    but many studies have shown that any arbitrary difference in someone can be used to discriminate against them. that said, children are blank slates and products of socialization rather than victims of some naturally occurring “difference” in perceived “others”
    http://digital.films.com/play/FDVHLK
    until societies can let go of that little thing called an ego, it’s an uphill battle

    gird thine loins?

  2. There is an event that will help you get to the bottom of all:
    the coming release of the princess and the Frog . watch for the sales..
    Why do you think that Stick is more famous than Lilo?

  3. taking in appearances(color of skin, shape, patterns) and making judgments and decisions based on what we see is a very natural thing. but as humans in modern society, its our job to override the urge to stereotype and keep an open mind. this is what kindergartens should be teaching, how to un-learn stereotyping. or at least when and when not to use it.

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