Baby Racists

No, seriously:

Racist Babies? Nine-Month-Olds Show Bias When Looking At Faces, Study Shows

Adults have more difficulty recognizing faces that belong to people of another race, and this deficit appears to start early.

New research indicates that by the time they are 9 months old, babies are better able to recognize faces and emotional expressions of people who belong to the group they interact with most, than they are those of people who belong to another race.

Babies don’t start out this way; younger infants appear equally able to tell people apart, regardless of race.

“These results suggest that biases in face recognition and perception begin in preverbal infants, well before concepts about race are formed. It is important for us to understand the nature of these biases in order to reduce or eliminate [the biases],” said study researcher Lisa Scott, a psychologist at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, in a statement.

In the study, 48 Caucasian infants were given the task of differentiating between faces of their own race and faces that belonged to another, unfamiliar, race. In another experiment, sensors placed on the babies’ heads detected brain activity when the babies saw images of faces of Caucasian or African-American races expressing emotions that either matched or did not match sounds they heard, such as laughing and crying.

The problem that jumps out at me is how they translate “better able to recognize faces and emotional expressions” into “racism.” I think this study would be more useful in detailing a baby’s cognitive development than it would be in studying racism.

But tying it to racism is sexier and more likely to result in a hefty research grant. It’s all about the Benjamins.

The sad part is people like Neblett will seize on studies like this to advance their race-baiting ideas.

Exit question: Why did they only test Caucasian babies?


J.E. Dyer:

If “racism” is defined as any form of noticing that there are physical differences between the races – anytime, anywhere, by anyone – then the concept has no political or moral meaning whatsoever. It is as neutral and uninteresting as eyelashes and fingernails. The “differently abled” or handicapped, according to this definition of racism, would be those who did not develop it. If it’s typical of babies in a study, regardless of race, then it’s – by definition – normal.

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16 Responses to Baby Racists

  1. DeniseVB says:

    Dragging my sorry comment from the last thread to this one…..

    Kinda sexist in a racist sort of way, but read an article today complaining that “Hollywood” is still not diverse enough with their characters….HBO’s “Girls” is one of them (lola, Amy might be interested? I know she’s “researching” the show)

    The article I read was in (uberLiberal Entertainment Weekly (Dark Shadows cover) though….when Blacks are cast, they act like WHITE people ! So that’s NOT diverse! Arghhh. Yet nobody’s complaining Tyler Perry doesn’t give Madea (I’m a fan) more white friends?

    • lorac says:

      And of course, the only thing considered diversity is race. Or the only acknowledged ethnicity, hispanic. They really need to enlarge their minds, we’re all very diverse on many other indices. If race were the only parameter for “diversity”, that would be awfully boring. Three races do not a lot of diversity make! (And Asians have all but disappeared off TV, so you might as well bring that down to TWO races)

  2. yttik says:

    “..babies are better able to recognize faces and emotional expressions of people who belong to the group they interact with most…”

    Well, duh! Doesn’t everyone? Can you imagine not being able to recognize the faces of the people you interact with the most? Did we really expect US babies to respond to facial expressions from some remote region in China? What were they looking for, well traveled, cosmopolitan infants?

    All people are better able to recognize faces, expressions, dialects, from those they spend more time with. Heck, in the US half, of us adults can’t even understand the language spoken in neighboring states!

  3. wmcb says:

    “These results suggest that biases in face recognition and perception begin in preverbal infants, well before concepts about race are formed. It is important for us to understand the nature of these biases in order to reduce or eliminate [the biases],” said study researcher Lisa Scott,

    This has become theater of the absurd. Human beings notice differences. Human beings (like most species) are most comfortable with the familiar, and that begins in infancy. Calling this very normal human tendency toward pattern recognition a “bias” that needs to be “reduced or eliminated” is just fucking stupid.

    The approach to race in this country is becoming Orwellian. How many fingers am I holding up, Winston? Well, even a baby could recognize that it’s 4, but we all have to find a way to say 5, just in case 4 might be “biased”.

    • 1539days says:

      And while they’re at it, men should stop preferring women with big boobs and long legs.

      • wmcb says:

        Yes, and women who are not sexually attracted to tiny skinny men with ugly faces and bad acne should have that “bias” corrected.

        These people are Utopians and science deniers, they really are. They have this vision of what human beings “ought” to be (absolutely identical automatons), and when reality and evolutionary hardwiring intrudes on their little fantasy, they get all pissy.

        • Yes, and can I add that human beings mostly usually have a desire to do something productive besides just procreate? We have an instinctive desire to work, to do something. Why is this bad? Don’t these utopianists remember what happened to the Eloi in The Time Machine?

  4. DandyTiger says:

    What a bunch of fucktards. Something tells me that’s not very politically correct of me. 🙂

  5. Using babies to prove we are racists … unfrickingbelievable!

  6. Lulu says:

    So are we going to see racial sensitivity training for newborns mandated? My brunette children did not like my husband’s family when they were babies because they were blond and kind of hairy. Viking beards made them scream. It was funny as hell.

    • wmcb says:

      LOL! Yep. My son as an infant screamed his head off the first time he saw a full beard. It’s just nature self-selecting traits that are good for survival. Some degree of suspicion and discrimination of unfamiliar persons is a healthy thing for any species. Babies also react badly to sudden loud noises. Do we need to “correct” that? If we don’t, is the baby going to grow up to be a paranoid basketcase over noises? Nope. As the baby gets older, its horizons broaden, and fewer things/sounds/people are unfamiliar to it.

  7. lorac says:

    Studies like this are misinterpreted (sometimes even by the authors!). We all discriminate, it would be incredibly difficult to get through life if we didn’t. You discriminate when you choose the good looking raspberries and throw back the moldy ones.

    Discrimination isn’t the problem – UNFAIR discrimination is. Babies are learning that the people and objects around them aren’t a part of themselves – that they are “other”. Then they learn to start discriminating that some “others” are different than other “others”. Since babies are generally raised in families and small baby-worlds of people of the same race, it only makes sense that they would find a new challenge in starting to see the faces of people from another race.

    That’s anything but racism! That’s normal healthy development!

    • But lorac, you just proved that they discriminate against “the other” — we all know what that means. They will grow up to not vote for the other. It’s been proven in some 2007/2008 faux study.

  8. Rangoon78 says:

    LA Times 9-16-09:

    Former President Jimmy Carter, said this morning that “an overwhelming portion” of those opposing President Obama’s policies are racist.

    Huffington Post last week: Obama Presidency Lures Out Dormant Racism

    [cut to] Baby beibgwired to register racism

    Rove’s Obama Attack Ad: Subliminal Racism – Page 1 – News – Miami – Miami New Times

    Karl Rove’s super PAC, American Crossroads, has issued a 46-second political ad attacking President Barack Obama for being too cool. This is a sneaky way of saying the commander in chief is too black to be in charge. The offensive spot, endorsed by Republican Party candidate Mitt Romney, employs a slow R&B beat and a deep baritone voiceover saying, “Ooooh, yeeaah.” It’s followed by a montage of Obama dancing with Ellen Degeneres, slow-jamming the news with the Roots on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, calling Kanye West a jackass, and singing an Al Green tune. “Four years ago, America elected the biggest celebrity in the world,” the narrator intones, “and America got one cool president.”


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