September 16, 2004

Appreciation of the beauty that God gave us!

What makes a young child play favorites in regards to race? The reason that I ask is that I have come to discover that my 18 month old daughter seems to prefer white people over black (in regards to strangers). I am rather perplexed by this phenomenon, to say the least. When we are in the malls, or other public places, my daughter, who is just learning to talk, goes out of her way to say “hi” to the white people that she sees. However, when she sees a black person, she does not speak. She will even let a white person pick her up…without crying, but let a black person that she does not know try such…she will cry, scream and fight. What is going on?

We live in a mixed community, but nearly all of our close friends are black and so my daughter is exposed to kind and loving black people constantly. There has been no traumatic experiences, of a negative nature, emanating in a pattern recognizable as being associated with blacks. In fact, as far as we know, she has had no traumatic experiences, other than birth, shots, the flu and a few tumbles out the bed. So, It is not as if she has learned that black equals bad, by virtue of her life experiences.

The only thing that I can figure is that she became acclimated to the white nurses, after she was born premature and spent 7 weeks in newborn intensive care. All the staff were white. I am not sure of the imprint of that experience has left on her young mind, but she was there a long time, but my wife and I were there nearly all the time as well. However, they did administer some painful shots, so I would think that would count against them, in her young mind.

Maybe it is not that at all. Maybe she just finds their different appearance worth investigating. I mean no disrespect or direct comparison, but she is rather fascinated with dogs as well. I think part or a lot of that fascination is due to their difference from humans and hence herself. Thus, whenever she sees a dog, she goes “doggy…woof, woof”...she makes an effort to get the dogs attention. Maybe she thus sees whites as fascinating, in a similar way, because they look different from her and the black people who surrounds her life on a daily basis.

I will not consciously verbalize to my daughter issues of race at such a young age. I think that would be irresponsible, as well as damaging. I do not mind that she greets white folks or play with white children. However, what I do not want is for her to favor another race over her own. I do believe that every entity needs a bit of narcissism about who and what they are. I can’t help but to believe that those who favor traits that they do not themselves posses are suffering from an inferiority complex and can’t really feel that good about themselves or their loved ones.

I can remember reading of these studies where black children prefered to play with white dolls, rather than black ones. In their young minds, they associated the black dolls as being or looking "dirty". There were also studies that showed other dispariging choices of young black children, in regards to their own race or those that looked like them. The kicker was that the original studies were done in the 40's or 50's, but were repeated with the same results in the late 80's or early 90's.

Are we conditioned to dislike who we are in this society...from birth?


At 7:07 AM, Blogger Scott said...

Maybe we are conditioned but don't stress it. Kids are strange. When my son was young he was afraid of everyone except my friend who is a huge black man (6 and change and round). We had two theories 1 he was so big he was like furniture. Two he looked like a bear in a story book. In the end kids get interesting in things then in other things.

BTW: It was cute the way associated white people with dogs. Much like the Nazi films that would show jews then rats.

I do wonder if it is harder for children visually discern the features on a dark face rather than light face since it absorbs more light.

Anyway by your kid some black dolls, and some black childrens videos,

At 8:14 AM, Blogger Noah TA said...

Look dodo...I was not associating whites with dogs...I reject that notion. I was simply drawing from analogies in my childs life. She is fascinated by dogs...maybe because they look differnt...she maybe facsinated by white due to them looking differnt too. What does not logically follow from that is the White = differnt and dog = differnt, therefore, white = Dog. I reject that BS conclusion of yours. I must be part dog too then...since I have some white blood in me, as well as most African Americans.

Your asnine

At 8:30 AM, Blogger Blackhoney said...

Noah, I know your daughter is only 18 months, but how much time does she spend in front of the tv or in a room where the tv is casually left on? I find the images showcased on television really affect our children's views on what is and isn't attractive.Cartoons and tv shows that regularly showcase only White characters are leaving a huge impact on her and you may not know it.

At 8:40 AM, Blogger Noah TA said...

Thanks Shawna....When our daughter was born, my wife and I made a commitment not to watch a lot of TV, to lead by example. We did away with Cable (I hurting for some ESPN) and do not watch TV much. However, the TV is on, even often times out of habit, despite no one watching. Our daughter is not interested in TV...except for those commercials with music. That could play a role too...I guess

At 8:51 AM, Blogger Rong said...

What about other children her own age. I've always been fascinated to watch a young childs expression when they see another child their age, especially if they are an only child. Countless times I've watched a 12-18 month old make eye contact with another kid and then try to communicate in some manner that they wanted to see (get closer) to the other child.

In the same direction as Shawna, what about recorded programs that are created for kids your childs age... does she watch any of them? I swear it seems that an hour of television can stick in a kids head longer than anything else. And don't think those cute little 30 second commercials aren't having a big impact on her.

At 8:56 AM, Blogger Noah TA said...

Yes...she LOVES kids her size...that is her greatest affinity...regardless of color. Its the adults that she discriminates against.

She watches no recorded programs, the only thing that she watches is commercials. That is the only thing that keeps her attention...its the music usually that attracts her attention. We just try to entertain her ourselves or let her play on her own...we do not want her to become addicted to the TV.

At 9:04 AM, Blogger Rong said...

Good luck on the TV thing. I've really been blessed with great kids, but if there was one thing that I wish I had done when they were little was gotten rid of the TV. Stick to your guns, especially while she's young.


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