Children, Race, and Institutional Racism (TRIPLE PARTICIPATION)

Published September 16, 2014 by djlwsu

What do the following videos tell us about institutional racism (Give specifics from the films and connect to reading)


5 comments on “Children, Race, and Institutional Racism (TRIPLE PARTICIPATION)

  • Institutional racism results from a social system that has stemmed off of slavery and racial segregation in earlier centuries. Even though the laws that could be considered a “racist act” are all but gone, its basic social structure still stands to this day. In the video “A Look at Race Relations through a Child’s Eyes” it becomes evident that race is still a major issue. What began as segregated schools in the previous century, has now became a segregated way of thinking. As the researcher believes, the subtle messages adults send to their children based on race, displays implicit bias. That implicit bias is originated from the slavery and racial discrimination that institutions had put forth previously which is now directly impacting children’s lives. Young white children have been most often been taught the negative stereotypes and connotations that arise from the topic of being black. This is clearly seen in the study of 145 children where 70% of kids held a negative interpretation of what could be a racial picture whereas only 38% of black children held a negative view. Kids even as young as six are both talking and thinking about race, but as they grow up it gets harder to talk about. In the video “A Girl Like Me” it was heartbreaking to hear the impact black girls are or even boys have to deal with. Those girls had ancestors that were basically ripped away from their culture and forced to act and do things the way someone else wanted. So now these teenagers fell at loss and without culture. Slavery institutionalized this lack of culture among black people. Just knowing that you are from Africa is not enough. Knowing the values, language and other details is what makes the difference with culture. As a significant part of what I have seen in society, black women are often stereotyped with being obnoxious, sassy, big butts, and so on. But should wearing your hair naturally and accepting that it makes you feel good be a bad thing? Hair should not be referred to as “kinky.” The doll example of wanting to have a white doll with pretty blond, straight hair over a black doll just proves my statement even more so. If a girl (or boy) is born a darker skin color, they should not feel ugly. Why should lighter skin tone be correlated with looking better or prettier? The answer: it shouldn’t.


  • The film and reading both give many examples of institutional racism and connect with each other in multiple ways. In the top video, “A Girl Like Me”, one of the girls talks about how culture effects people of all races. She talked about how because she was of African decent she personally felt like her heritage had been erased from her background. She doesn’t know where she’s from, what language her family originally spoke, or what her native culture is like. She, and another girl, talked about how because they had no background society was pushing them to be one way to fit in. the reading, “Reproducing Racism” also brought up a similar issue involving classifying wealth and social standing by culture. Anthropologist Oscar Lewis believed he could explain the difference in cultures by looking at their financial standings, he compared “slum dwellers of Mexico City”, Negro families in the ghettos, and the underclass. He believed that their financial despair was passed down from parents to children, he called his hypothesis/observations “culture of poverty”. Its just one of the many examples shown in the book and short clip of institutional racism because the information, in the book, being spread is coming from a white man who is stereotyping people of color as “poor” and in “poverty” because he is only observing the colored people with low financial incomes instead of broadening his observations by looking at colored people with high incomes too. Another example of Institutional racism is in the second short clip “A Look at Race Relations Through a Childs Eye”. The children were asked if it was ok if they could bring home a friend who was a different and the majority of them said “no”. When asked why they said this most of them said it was because they felt that their parents wouldn’t approve of they wouldn’t fit in in their home because of their color. Institutional racism is unknowingly being taught to children at young ages by their parents because, what researchers say, is that most parents are afraid to address racism to their children in fear that they would be putting racism into their children’s life’s. These short clips have shown me that institutional racism is found everywhere, not just between adults or work places, but also in children’s views of what’s right and wrong and teen girls not feeling whole because society has stripped them of their cultural roots.


  • The videos show us that institutional racism is set at a young age. Institutional racism is “the shaping an institution so that it effectively serves and accounts to one racial group, and not to others.” In the first video, A Girl like Me, we saw many girls talk about their insecurities about growing up as an African American. These girls go through so much trouble just to change the color of their skin, and hair so that they can fit in more with the other girls at school. What socked me was when one of the girl’s moms told their daughters to stop looking so “African American” even though their race was African American. In the second half of that video when kids chose between the white baby doll and the black baby doll, I was shocked to hear that the young kids preferred the white doll because it looked “nicer” and that the black baby doll was mean. This is an example of how institutional racism is set in at such a young age.
    The second vide was really an eye opener to me. I did not realize that kids as young as six understood what racism was. The pictures that the researcher and reporter were showing to the kids had a varied response. To me is was shocking to see that so many white kids had negative comments regarding the pictures, whereas the black kids had positive thoughts. Many of the children backed up their responses with “my mom said…..” or “my family is all white people”. This is an example of institutional racism because these kids had been thought that this is the way it is and it’s not going to change. This tell us that institutional racism is set in at an early age, much earlier that anybody expected. The kids at this age already understand that being white has privilege.


  • Institutional rasicim does still exist it is just another way having us black categories in different ways the whites made us feel like we are all not one especially if we don’t look alike. i feel like they always advertise the white dolls first and more as a kid. The different tone of skin shouldn’t be judge on what your ethnicity is. Since I’m from east Africa I’ve always got the question “why do you have nice hair for a black girl’?, when technically i am african and hair shouldn’t define where i am from. East africans have different features then other africans or ‘blacks’ ut either way we all originate from Africa regardless. Most east africans have caucasion features and hair types, but in the end as i already stated that shouldn’t define me being black. Other institutional organizations such as black student unions and black universities, i think are made to help black people feel like they are at home when they have others around that they can relate to. Living in Seattle and going to majority caucasion school, i felt more myself when i was around the organizations such as black student union. these organizations are made to help others feel more of themselves and just have people to relate to, to to segregate as most other races feel that we are doing. We have felt segregated ourselves for plenty of years, so we wouldn’t want to do that to others as it may seem.


  • Institutional racism still exists in out schools today and it still influences children’s actions about race. Although the times of Jim Crow and the civil rights movements have ended and blacks are now given rights and are more equal, thoughts and actions still linger from that time period. For example it is evident from the first video that people describe beauty as white or light skinned. As stated that some girls thought themselves as ugly for being dark skinned and even at the extreme some black girls would bleach their skin to be lighter. Beauty is the eye of the beholder, no one should think there ugly especially for having a different type of skin color then what others think is beautiful.

    Another example that proves institutional racism still exists is at even at a young age, children have been exposed to racism and the ideas of segregation. In the video it talked about Whites not being able to have black friends, or not liking other children because of there skin color. This is the fault of both schools and parents for not directing their children in a manner so they know it is ok to be friends with children of other skin colors. The statistic that 70% of white children believed that something bad happened when the black child was standing and the white child was on the floor shocked me. Why would a kid at such a young age already have these kinds of thoughts, no child should or adult for that matter should have these thoughts in this day in age. Although all of us are different we should all be willing and able to accept those differences so our communities can thrive and know one will feel inferior because of their skin color.


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