Study: Racial Bias May Start as Early as Preschool

This article discusses the effects of implicit racial biases on black and minority pre-schoolers. The study the article discusses tries to prove that implicit biases effects minorities at even a pre-school level. The study used more than 130 current and student preschool teachers and administrators. The participants were told that the purpose of the experiment was to see how teaches detect challenging behavior. When the test subjects were asked then to observe a class-room of children actors portraying students, the results confirmed the danger in implicit biases. Through eye-tracking technology the researchers were able to find that the teachers kept their eyes on black boys significantly more than any other category of students.

Similarly, in a separate exercise teachers and educators were given a vignette of a 4-year old with behavioral problems. Some of the students were given stereotypical white names, while others were given stereotypically black names. Teachers and educators were also given similar biological information of all the subjects. When they were later asked to rank the students’ behavior they found a strong accordance with race.

In concluding their research, they found that most black and minority students were held to lower standards as opposed to their white counterparts. Teachers and staffers were also noted to have lower standards for behavior for black and minority students.

The findings were requested to be released by the US department of Health and Human services. The way this article relates to our course is that it deals with the manipulation of the health of African Americans and other minorities on account of their race. However in this study, the type of health that is shown to be negatively impacted/ effected is mental health. As the article proves, minority students are disproportionately effected by low expectations that manifest into a self-fulfilling proficy that is able to sustain itself through teachers placing low expectations on black students, and in turn causing them to internalize them and have a low sense of self. The danger of this mental health issue is that children can very easily live up to expectations set up for them.

2 thoughts on “Study: Racial Bias May Start as Early as Preschool”

  1. WOW. Thanks for sharing Nemo. There’re a lot of scholars in the School of Ed at UC Berkeley, namely Na’ilah Suad Nasir (, conducting research on stereotypes of African American students and how that plays out in the classroom. Last year I taught a course at Cal State LA called “Race, Class, and Gender in the Classroom,” in which we watched this lecture by Prof. Nasir that you might find interesting:

  2. The line “minority students were held to lower standards as opposed to their white counterparts” reminds me of an experience I had when I was entering middle school. Despite my grades as an honor’s student who had grown up in the states, I was treated by my teachers in a patronizing way who often times belittled my spanish-speaking mother during conferences. This type of attitude is one that is a result of severe and historical stereotyping, but it’s also refreshing to see discussion over this issue, which is unfortunately embedded into our education system.

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