September 18, 2009
Baby 'Bigots'By Jan LaRue
The Ku Klux Klan may start marketing a line of baby bigot wear if they fall for Newsweek's Sept. 14, cover story, "See Baby Discriminate."
According to the editors at the "we've fallen for him and we can't get up" Barack Obama fan magazine: "Kids as young as 6 months judge others based on skin color." Thanks to Newsweek, we now know why babies are comfortable in hoods-at least white ones-both babies and hoods, that is.
If you expected Newsweek to include a photo of a black baby with a white baby to illustrate its cover story, you probably waste too much money on lottery tickets.
A white baby's face adorns the cover even though the "research" cited by authors, Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman, in their new book, NutureShock, is based on one "test" of 100 white babies and 100 black babies by one researcher revealing the same response by both races:
Newsweek editors apparently concluded from this "research" that 6-month old white babies are born racists. What else explains Newsweek's cover question: "Is Your Baby a Racist?" Can Newsweek explain why the cover doesn't include a photo of a black baby?
Bronson and Merryman ask, "What's a parent to do?" Not reading their book and Newsweek comes immediately to mind.
Bronson and Merryman cite another researcher, Birgitte Vittrup, who tested "about a hundred families, all of whom were Caucasian with a child 5 to 7 years old" in the Austin, Texas area: "The goal of Vittrup's study was to learn if typical children's videos with multicultural storylines have any beneficial effect on children's racial attitudes."
The authors don't mention if they asked the researcher why she didn't conduct the same research on black families. Nor do they address other possible explanations for children's responses that have nothing to do with racism.
Bronson and Merryman include a T-Shirt "test," which to them "seems to show how children will use whatever you give them to create divisions-seeming to confirm that race becomes an issue only if we make it an issue":
Were the red shirts all worn by white children? Were the blue shirts all worn by black children? Were the teams mixed? We don't know. Even though racism wasn't a factor in the children's behavior, we're supposed to conclude that little kids who identify more readily with teammates wearing the same color T-Shirt are susceptible to racism?
Apparently, Bigler, Bronson and Merryman have never observed children competing in the unifying experience of team sports. Are the "experts" proposing anti-racism indoctrination for Little League, soccer, softball, and Pop Warner Football? Should every team wear the same color uniform?
"The election of President Barack Obama marked the beginning of a new era in race relations in the United States-but it didn't resolve the question as to what we should tell children about race," according to Bronson and Merryman.
What Bronson and Merryman do admit is that all of the diversity indoctrination and desegregation hasn't made any significant difference in the fact that whites identify more easily with whites and blacks identify more easily with blacks:
For Bronson and Merryman, desegregation and the election of a black President of the United States by a white majority are not significant indicia that Americans aren't racist because blacks still tend to have black friends and whites still tend to have white friends.
White parents don't discuss race as readily as black parents do, according to Bronson and Merryman:
It's quite peachy if minority kids are "coached to be proud of their ethnic history." But it's "horrifying" and "abhorrent" for Bronson and Merryman to imagine "kids being proud to be white." If white parents teach their children to be ashamed and feel inferior because of their ethnicity, is that supposed to improve race relations? And Bronson and Merryman wonder why white parents are hesitant to discuss race with their children.
Newsweek's depiction of white babies as racists has taken the race card to an all-time low. Including mention of Obama with this shoddy research is a deplorable attempt to shame and bully his critics into silence.
As scant as the evidence is for congenital racism, it's as credible as the evidence that homosexuality is inborn. So, maybe racism will also become a protected civil rights class, or at least a defense to a hate crime. They could call it "The Newsweek Racist Protection Act" to commemorate Newsweek's demise.
Jan LaRue is Senior Legal Analyst with the American Civil Rights Union; former Chief Counsel at Concerned Women for Women; former Legal Studies Director at Family Research Council; and former Senior Counsel for the National Law Center for Children and Families.