Black/Brown/White Relations: Race Relations in the 1970s

By Charles V. Willie | Go to book overview

7
Racial Attitudes of
Native-American Preschoolers

Ann H. Beuf

The present study focuses on Native-American and white preschool children and their feelings about race (many American Indians prefer to have the term Native Americans applied to their group). It is a replication of studies that have been carried out with black and white youngsters.Most of the children in the sample are reservation children. They have been surrounded by other Native Americans; children who have attended preschool have been in all Native-American classes.Thus, their exposure to outright prejudice of a personal nature has been minimal. No one has made fun of their race at school, no neighbor has refused to let a precious offspring play with them because of their race. However, the children have, through television and their own observations, begun to see what roles in society are occupied by whom. This raises an interesting question for the student of race relations. In the past, sociologists indicated that if minority-group children were adversely affected by their status, it was because of personal hurt inflicted by prejudiced others. Yet investigators have not attempted to separate out that kind of personal influence and the influence of the simple awareness of the social structure. The hypothesis of this research is that institutional patterns and not personal experience with prejudice is the major factor influencing the racial attitudes of the minority‐ group child—in this case the Native American.Because of the

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