But, ever a dutiful developmental psychologist (and a dutiful sister) I clicked through to find out what was behind the headline.
Basically, a scientist (Dr Kang Lee) has redone some research to find out which age babies develop racial bias.
The research suggests that babies start to develop racial bias between 6 & 9 months of age.
Now, please pay close attention to the sentence which comes next…
Racial bias is not racism.
Racial bias is simply a preference to an individual of a specific ethnic group.
Children are comforted by those things that are familiar and people who ‘look’ the same as their parents are going to be more familiar.
It’s completely natural to be wary of the unknown.
Racism however is: ‘being prejudice against someone of a different race because you believe your race is superior.’
Babies are not prejudice.
Babies do not believe their race is superior.
Therefore, your baby is not racist.
No baby is.
The only thing your 6-9 month old baby cares about is being well cared for.
Your baby genuinely does not care what anyone looks like – (s)he just cares whether they are going to be fed before going back to sleep.
Now, you may think very naively that the reporting would stop with the Daily Mail.
Instead Good Morning TV picked it up and ran with it this morning (and this is why my sister was Facebook ranting).
The shocking thing – they ran with the same headline!
They then preceded to ‘grill’ Dr Lee about babies being racist.
However, if you actually read his work he never mentions the word racist.
Well – he is a scientist & is well aware of the cognitive limitations of a 6 month old baby…
Don’t get me wrong he does suggest exposing babies to people of all race early on to try and reduce the inherent racial bias – but if you ask me I wouldn’t bother.
In a multi-cultural society your baby is going to meet people from all walks of life and of all race without you putting in a lot of effort.
So, in conclusion – your baby is not racist.
No babies are.
Your baby just want’s feeding.
They are familiar with what you look like – it’s that simple.
Oh, and you want to test this theory try dying your hair & see how your baby reacts the next time you go to feed them …
Have a fabulous day & I’ll catch up with you soon.
Best wishes, Katie.
p.s. if you need a little help with parenting why not check out our positive parenting community -
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