成見與排斥—美國兒童群體關係Q&A
作者: Melanie Killen / 4758次阅读 时间: 2011年9月06日
来源: 新聞周刊 标签: Killen 偏见 Prejudices
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成見與排斥—美國兒童群體關係Q&A
一項新研究發現,「性別」與「不同種族」兒童對前者先有反應


【摘譯自:Newsweek Feb. 26, 2007 By Anna Kuchment http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17347064/site/newsweek/(原文)】

一位兒童發展專家看兒童的矛盾行為—有關種族、宗教及性別的刻板印象兒童如何反應?

兒童發展專家已經花了幾年時間研究基克族(geekdom,沈溺於電腦網路、遠離都市和記者、對各方面有自己見解的人)︰什麼原因讓一個孩童有可能被另外一個孩童拒絕。但是馬利蘭大學教授Melanie Killen採取一種不同的方法,Killen是兒童、人際關係與文化的中心的副主任,他不將焦點放在社交困難(social deficit),而是集中在另一個類目-「拒絕」-當兒童因為性別、種族或其他族群(異教徒...)等因素,而不是因為他們的行為受到排擠,Killen稱它為「群體關係(group membership)」,她的研究《排斥在兒童社會與道德的推理(Children’s Social and Moral Reasoning About Exclusion)》,在心理科學方面的Current Directions月刊出版,顯示孩子至少在幼稚園就可以發覺他們的群體關係。但是,在兒童普遍覺得拒絕某人是因為排斥他們的性別、種族或宗教那是不公平的同時,無論如何,他們還是會如此做。 以下是Killen與新聞周刊記者Anna Kuchment關於本議題的訪談選錄︰

美國馬里蘭大學 Melanie Killen教授說:「在靈長類動物和人類中,有形成群體的生物學趨勢

新聞周刊記者問︰為何如此著迷於排斥(exclusion)和加入(inclusion)的問題呢?

Melanie Killen教授回答︰作為成年人,我們全部必須接觸社會團體,在我們的生活中有數以百計的團體︰在工作上、在高等教育求學中,在社區組織中。每當你參加一個有入會儀式的團體-妳必須提出申請,你必須瞭解這個團體的歷史淵源,理解這些細微差別是得以在社會和專業上成功的關鍵。 

新聞周刊記者問︰為什麼你決定把焦點放在群體歧視,而不是像電影《壞女孩(Mean Girls)》所流行的競爭和恃強凌弱的類型?

Melanie Killen教授回答︰是的,有時兒童被拒絕因為他們的社交技巧不好,但是我們必須拉高來看群體的人際關係-當兒童拒絕他人不是因為社交技巧,而是因為她們是一個女孩或是一名回教徒。作為成年人,我們不會苛責兒童,如同為什麼成年人世界有戰爭,以及為什麼國與國不能和平相處。我們想要知道︰兒童是從多早開始拒絕彼此?其使用的理由類型為何? 

新聞周刊記者問︰你發現什麼?

Melanie Killen教授回答︰那孩子首先知道性別。 較小的兒童(學齡前兒童(preschoolers))了解人們有不同的膚色,但是他們不懂藉由活動或愛好將人分類。假如你問他們:「白人兒童喜歡什麼?」,他們將無法回答你。小學是種族和其他族群(異教徒...)刻板印象形成的時期。當兒童漸長,他們察覺群體的力量,他們學到用文化的刻板印象,作為拒絕的理由。他們會說:「這沒問題,因為他喜歡不同事物,不用讓他加入俱樂部。」到青少年,他們開始非常清楚群體功能,以及如何成為一掛。如此,更讓孩子們受刻板印象的影響。 

新聞周刊記者問︰跟我們談談,你關於學齡前兒童的一些討論。

Melanie Killen教授回答︰我們會告訴他們一個小插曲或故事情節:「女孩正在完洋娃娃,而一位男孩想要和她們玩,但是,女孩們說:『不』。 這樣好嗎?」 我們發現,如果你問他們”這樣好嗎?”,多數孩子會說不太好。他們會說:「他會覺得悲哀,那樣說不太好。」但是,假如你使情勢更複雜並且說:「一群女孩正在玩洋娃娃,房間只能容納一個人,請問要男孩還是女孩。」她們說:「大概是女孩,因為她了解洋娃娃。」 


Q&A: How Kids Learn Prejudices, Stereotypes

How do children respond to stereotypes about race, religion and gender? A child-development expert looks at contradictions in kids’ behavior.

Newsweek WEB EXCLUSIVE

By Anna Kuchment

Updated: 11:05 a.m. MT Feb 26, 2007

Feb. 26, 2007 – Child-development experts have spent years studying geekdom: what it is that makes one child more likely to be rejected by another. But University of Maryland professor Melanie Killen took a different approach. Instead of focusing on social deficits, Killen, associate director of the Center for Children, Relationships and Culture, focused on another category of rejection—when children are excluded because of gender, race or ethnicity rather than their behavior. Killen calls it “group membership.” Her study, “Children’s Social and Moral Reasoning About Exclusion,” published in this month’s issue of Current Directions in Psychological Science, shows that kids become aware of group membership from at least the time they’re in preschool. But, while kids universally feel that it’s unfair to reject someone based exclusively on their gender, race or religion, there are some situations in which they do so anyway. Killen spoke to NEWSWEEK’s Anna Kuchment about why that’s the case. Excerpts:

NEWSWEEK:Why are we so fascinated with the question of exclusion and inclusion?
Melanie Killen:As adults, we all have to navigate social groups. We’re in hundreds of groups throughout our lives: at work, in higher education, in community organizations. Every time you join a group there are entry rituals—you have to apply, you have to know the group’s prior history. Understanding these nuances is a key to social and professional success.

Why did you decide to focus on group discrimination, rather than on “Mean Girls”-style popularity contests and bullying?
Our approach is: yeah, there are times when kids are rejected because they’re not good at social skills, but there’s a whole other dimension we need to look at, and that’s intergroup relations—when kids exclude others not because of social skills but because they’re a girl or a Muslim. As adults, we don’t think about that so much in children. That’s part of why adults have wars and why countries don’t get along, but it’s gotta start somewhere. We wanted to know: how early does it start and what categories do kids use to reject each other?

And what did you find?
That kids become aware of gender first. Young kids [preschoolers] understand that people have different skin colors, but they don’t use that to classify people by activities or interests. If you asked them, “What do white kids like?” they wouldn’t be able to tell you. Stereotypes about race and ethnicity come in during elementary school. As kids get older, they’re aware of group dynamics, and they pick up the stereotypes of the culture and start using those as reasons for exclusion. They’ll say, “It’s OK not to let him in the club because he likes different things.” Adolescents start to become very aware of group function and what makes kids want to hang out together. Those reasons start to be more influenced by stereotypes.

Tell me about some of the discussions you had with preschoolers.
We’d tell them a vignette or scenario. “Girls are playing with dolls and a boy wants to play with them, but the girls say ‘no.’ Is that all right?”  What we found is, if you asked them that question, a majority of kids say it’s not all right. They’ll say, “That wouldn’t be right because he’ll feel sad.” But if you make the situation more complex and say, “A group of girls is playing with dolls and there’s only room for one more person. Would you take the boy or the girl?” Then they’ll say, “Well, maybe the girl, because she knows about dolls.”

How were those different from the conversations you had with high-schoolers?
The similarities were that young kids, just like adolescents, have stereotypes about others and also recognize the unfairness of excluding someone just based on those stereotypes. But what’s very different is that adolescents are much more sensitive to group dynamics and group function in both a positive and a negative way. In a positive sense, they understand that for a group to work well there has to be a shared interest. The negative side is that they might still equate shared interest with shared race and ethnicity.

Your research gets at the larger question of: is it ever OK to exclude? Is that something you’ve thought about?
What we say is that exclusion is not the same as other transgressions, like hitting someone for no reason or denying someone resources for no reason. Those are moral transgressions. But exclusion is different because there are plenty of times in society where exclusion is OK. A typical example is baseball—if you’re not good at baseball, you’re excluded.

But exclusion based on group membership is different. What we find is that, universally, if you really pose it to them in terms of exclusion based solely on group membership and no other association like competence, skill or merit, it seems that our interviewees would view that as unfair and wrong. There seems to be a universal feeling that exclusion based solely on group membership is unfair if you don’t know anything else about that person’s talent and ability. There is this sense of fairness that seems to be universal.

Is this sense inborn?
Our research suggests it’s not strictly innate and not strictly learned, but it’s an interaction. Infants come into the world with a social predisposition. They like faces, they like people, they love to look at kids. And we think that’s part of the basis for some kind of moral orientation toward fairness and equality and that really does come out of peer interaction. They negotiate and develop a concept of equality.

What can be done to prevent this type of exclusion?
Intervention doesn’t have to teach them that it’s wrong to do this. They already understand that. But what we have to work on is helping them see when a situation involves exclusion based on group membership, because sometimes they get confused. They think they’re making a decision that’s fair, but it’s really based on stereotypes. For example, if you ask kids about a music club that excludes kids based on race, the younger kids will say it’s wrong. But as you get older they’ll say if you don’t like the same music it’s OK. But then that’s based on stereotype. Kids understand fairness but what they don’t get is when using a stereotype might interfere with that.

What can parents do?
We think schools and teachers and parents should do much more to talk to all kids about how groups form, about exclusion and what makes it wrong and when you might be being biased in a situation. A lot of the exclusion that’s based on race and gender comes from kids in the majority who are just not aware of the experiences that kids who are minorities have.

We also think it’s important for parents and teachers to promote diversity in friendships and playgroups early on. When their kids turn 5, parents often start having playdates only with girls or only with boys.  They move into perpetuating a segregated culture. And why is segregating by gender so different than segregating by ethnicity?

Is there an evolutionary basis to exclusion based on groups?
I don’t think there is in quite the way it’s portrayed. There’s a biological tendency for primates and humans to form groups, but just because you like your group doesn’t mean you dislike or go against the out-group. With primates and humans, there’s a social predisposition toward fairness.

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