"They're not too young to talk about race!" says the slide that informs you your baby is probably a racist.
Maybe you should have a talk with him, after you've gotten the mashed peas out of his nose, that is.
At 3 months babies look more at the faces that match the race of their caregivers.
That baby is a racist. Probably a Trump supporter. Did anyone check for a MAGA pacifier?
The claim that your baby is a racist was part of a presentation introducing "anti-racist" teachings to Montgomery County Maryland elementary students. Montgomery County is right next door to Washington DC and has a population of over 1 million people.
I'll be exploring this program in some more depth in future pieces, but I feel like we have to clear up the racist baby thing, because nobody wants a racist baby.
I decided the first thing to do would be to check out the study cited in the chart, "Kelly et al. 2005."
I know, I know, there he goes again, insisting on checking sources instead of just believing what the nice woke people are telling him.
What can I say? I have trust issues.
I managed to find the study, "Three‐month‐olds, but not newborns, prefer own‐race faces."
Adults are sensitive to the physical differences that define ethnic groups. However, the age at which we become sensitive to ethnic differences is currently unclear. Our study aimed to clarify this by testing newborns and young infants for sensitivity to ethnicity using a visual preference (VP) paradigm.
What is a "visual preference (VP) paradigm?"
Glad you asked.
...a research method for assessing visual discrimination in infants wherein the quantity of time spent observing various visual stimulants is gauged to ascertain the stimulant that the infants favor. It is presumed that the stimulant observed more frequently is the one which is favored and such inclinations imply the capacity to discriminate between stimulants.
So, VP just means "things infants look at more than other things," and it is presumed that they "favor" those things.
Back to the study.
While newborn infants demonstrated no spontaneous preference for faces from either their own‐ or other‐ethnic groups, 3‐month‐old infants demonstrated a significant preference for faces from their own‐ethnic group.
We know there are morphological differences among ethnic groups (skin color, hair, facial features) and it appears infants recognize those differences at three months of age.
These results suggest that preferential selectivity based on ethnic differences is not present in the first days of life, but is learned within the first 3 months of life.
The findings imply that adults' perceptions of ethnic differences are learned and derived from differences in exposure to own‐ versus other‐race faces during early development.
Let's back up a moment, make sure we understand the chain of logic:
- Babies develop the mental cognition to recognize that people look different at approximately 3 months.
- Babies prefer people who look like the people who feed and clothe them and keep them comfortable.
- Therefore, babies are racists, and their parents are too.
Let's take another look. There was something else interesting mentioned in this Kelly study:
Sangrigoli and de Schonen's (2004) results demonstrate that when familiarized with a single face and tested with the familiar face versus a novel face, same-aged Caucasian infants display a novelty preference, but only when the familiar and novel faces are Caucasian. When the familiar-novel face pairings are from another race, infants divide attention between the faces.
In the Santrigoli study, babies seemed pretty woke.
Odd they didn't seem to think that part of the study was worth mentioning.
Probably just an oversight.
There was something else, too.
While the preference for own-race faces observed in 3-month-olds may be evident, it is unclear which facial component (i.e. skin color, physiognomy, or both) is responsible for the effect.
So, is this about race and ethnicity, or just differences, the familiar vs. the unfamiliar?
Although there was a clear contrast [C="contrast"] difference between the African vs. Caucasian faces (C =0.25), the difference between the Middle Eastern vs. Caucasian faces (C = 0.09) was minimal,and the Asian vs. Caucasian face difference (C = 0.003) was almost indistinguishable. Despite these differences, the preference observed for own-race faces was similar across conditions.
Skin color didn't even have anything to do with it, other features did.
Clearly, in terms of physiognomy, there are marked differences between faces across all different ethnic groups and our findings suggest that 3-month-old infants can discriminate between faces from different ethnic groups on the basis of physiognomic differences alone.
Which begs the age-old question:
This study does not prove three-month-olds "favor" their own ethnicity, they favor facial features that are similar to those of the people who take care of them because of course they do.
And the Sangrigoli study, referenced in this one, doesn't even prove that.
And yet from that, and similar studies, the social justice warriors conclude:
Young children notice and think about race.
This strikes me as less an observation and more a goal. They want to get kids obsessing over race and ethnicity every waking moment just like they do.
Maybe it helps them deal with their own demons.
My kid wasn't "using race to reason about people's behaviors" when he was 2. He was using toilet paper to see if he could clog the toilet. He has close friends who are of a different ethnicity, color, and religion, and it's not something we ever talk about because why would a normal well-adjusted person do that?
I'll pause here for now. Reading through just this much makes me want to get drunk and I fear reading much more will make me want to not just get drunk, but Tom Brady drunk.
And no one wants to be Tom Brady drunk.