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Racial Attitudes Among White Kindergarten Children From Three Different Environments

Orost, Jean H.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Memorandum
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Children, Pictorial Stimuli, Racial Attitudes, Social Episodes Test, Whites


This research was initiated to determine whether the extent of a White child's first-hand contacts with Black peers would influence his attitudes toward Blacks. The subjects, 49 White, middle to upper class kindergarten children, all from two-parent homes with mothers who did not work outside the home, were divided into three groups: (A) children with no association with Black children, (B) children with interracial contacts in school only, and (C) children with interracial contacts both in school and residential environment. The test used was the Social Episodes Test designed by Trager and Radke-Yarrow, but with pictures designed especially for this project. The three pictures shown and discussed were: (1) three White children playing and a Black child approaching the group, (2) three White children playing, and (3) three White children and one Black child playing together. An interview was conducted to determine the extent of the child's associations with and feelings toward Black children. 79.7% of the sample displayed some form of tension after being shown the first picture. About half that number of children displayed tension after picture number three of racial harmony. Refusal to discuss picture number one was most prevalent among Group B subjects. Tension displayed by distraction was most evident among Group A subjects.

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