When you think about racial bias, you may think that this is an issue that only affects adults. However, a recent study from the Yale Child Study Center demonstrates the impact racial bias can have in a preschool classroom.
In the study, researchers had about 135 preschool teachers watch videos of four children playing: a black boy, a black girl, a white boy, and a white girl. The researchers asked the teachers to hit the “enter” button on their keyboard as soon as they noticed some type of challenging behavior in each video.
In reality, there was no challenging behavior in any of the videos, and the study actually used eye scan technology to monitor which child the teachers paid the most attention to. It turned out that regardless of race, the teachers watched the black boy most closely.
The results of this study show that young black boys are held to unfair standards. Even if they’re on their best behavior, adults are likely to expect problems out of them. This means that they’re more likely to get in trouble for minor issues than their white peers. This unconscious racial bias is something that educators need to address in order to promote a fair and respectful classroom environment.