Many children attribute white male monopoly on White House to discrimination

Oct 08, 2008

A new study in the journal Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy explored elementary-school-age children's views about the role of race and gender in the U.S. presidency, Results indicated that most children are aware that women and people of color have been excluded from the presidency. Further, many children attributed the lack of female, African American, and Latino presidents to gender and racial discrimination.

In the year prior to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama's bids to become the Democratic nominee, researchers interviewed children between five and ten years of age from various ethnic and racial backgrounds to assess their knowledge of and attributions for the lack of female, African American, and Latino presidents.

The study found that most children endorsed the belief that the presidency should be filled by people of both genders and diverse races and ethnicities. At the same time, most children reported that women and people of color have been excluded from the role

Surprisingly, when asked about potential legal barriers, one in four children stated that it was currently against the law for women, African Americans, or Latinos to be President. Many children also blamed those who have been excluded, arguing that they lack the necessary attributes to hold the position, including the fact women aren't as smart as men.

Girls who attributed the lack of female presidents to discrimination were more likely to report that they could not really become president, even if they were interested in doing so. In contrast, among African American children, attributions to discrimination were associated with an increased interest in becoming president, perhaps, Bigler said, as a result of the long and well-known history of African-Americans' struggle to achieve equality in the United States,"

"Our research suggests that the U.S. presidency is a high-profile instance of gender and racial exclusion that is well known by young children and may shape their expectations concerning gender and race relations and discrimination," the authors note. "If Obama loses his bid for the presidency, there may be little change in children's attitudes, but it could fuel their perception that American voters are racially prejudiced," Bigler said. "In contrast, if Obama wins children may believe that exclusionary laws and racial prejudice no longer shape the outcomes of the presidential elections."

Source: Wiley

Explore further: Rare early shakespeare compilation found in small French library

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Nintendo apologizes for lack of virtual equality

May 10, 2014

Nintendo is apologizing and pledging to be more inclusive after being criticized for not recognizing same-sex relationships in English editions of a life-simulator video game. The publisher said that while ...

Miami looks beyond beaches, bikinis to tech

May 05, 2014

Famed for its beaches, cruises and cafecitos, South Florida is now angling to become one of the next U.S. tech hot spots by leveraging its role as the gateway to Latin America and luring northern entrepreneurs with cheap ...

US secretly created 'Cuban Twitter' to stir unrest

Apr 03, 2014

In July 2010, Joe McSpedon, a U.S. government official, flew to Barcelona to put the final touches on a secret plan to build a social media project aimed at undermining Cuba's communist government.

Recommended for you

James Watson's Nobel Prize to be auctioned

Nov 25, 2014

Missed the chance to bid on Francis Crick's Nobel Prize when it was auctioned off last year for $2.27 million? No worries, you'll have another chance to own a piece of science history on Dec. 4, when James D. Watson's 1962 ...

Engineers develop gift guide for parents

Nov 21, 2014

Faculty and staff in Purdue University's College of Engineering have come up with a holiday gift guide that can help engage children in engineering concepts.

Former Brown dean whose group won Nobel Prize dies

Nov 20, 2014

David Greer, a doctor who co-founded a group that won the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize for working to prevent nuclear war and who helped transform the medical school at Brown University, has died. He was 89.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.