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Ethnicity and Gender in Late Childhood and Adolescense Essay Example for Free
Ethnicity and Gender in Late Childhood and Adolescense Essay Abstract This paper focuses on an study that was conducted to examine the awareness of gender and ethinic bias along with gender and ethnic identity in late childhood and early adolescence. Data was collected on children in 4th, 6th, and 8th grades from various elementary and middle schools. The ethnic groups that were represented were White/European American, African American, an Latino. Daily diaries and individual interviews displayed that ethnic, gender, and grade level differences affected the awareness of bias ( Developmental Psychology, 2011). It was further proven that children in this age range were more aware of gender bias than ethinic bias. Keywords: gender identity, ethnic identity, bias During adolescent development a childÃ¢â¬â¢s need to be identified based ethnicity and/or gender becomes more prevalent and is further influenced by their peers. In addition, during this stage of development, social identity can have a deeper impact on intergroup attitudes. In the text, chapter 3 discusses gender schemas and how they evolve from being inflexible to flexible though the development of a human being (Wade Tavris, 2011). In the Development Psychology article, Ã¢â¬Å"Ethnicity and Gender in Late Childhood and Early Adolescence: Group Identity and Awareness of BiasÃ¢â¬ , 2011, psychologists, Alabi, Brown, Huynh, and Masten examined the awareness of gender an identity bias and its impact on the individuals/groups. The hypothesis is the possibility that children can be aware of one type of bias and oblivious to the another based on their group identity. The study was conducted with 350 students from three participating elementary schools and three middle schools in Southern California. The schools represented various ethnic/racial make-ups and socioeconomic statuses that included 67 African American, 120 White, and 167 Latino students. Two methodologies were used during this study, case study and naturalistic observation. The case study methodology as described by the text is the description of an individual based on their observation of behavior during a specified period (Wade Tavris, 2011, p. 18). During the first week the case study was conducted by each participant receiving a diary to document their assessment of what identity was most important to them. The approach was referred to as identity centrality and the children received an ethnicity and gender score based on the results. The second portion of this test, identified as the identity salience approach involved students documenting whether or not they thought about gender, ethnic, or no identity at all during each period of the school day. The results of this test revealed that 51% of the children mentioned ethnicity and 63% mentioned gender. Following this portion of the study, the students were assessed through individual interviews with the same ethnicity, same gender experimenter. To assess ethnic identity, the students were presented five items with opposing questions, in which they had to choose the statement that they most identified with. A similar assessment was conducted to determine the degree of their gender identity. The final results of these assessments revealed that 51% of the students were aware of ethnic bias associated with ethnic identity while 49% were unaware. The relationship between bias and group identity was determined by eight ethnic and gender identity measures to include: gender and ethinic identity, salience, centrality, positivity/importance of ethnicity, contentedness with gender, felt gender typicality, and felt pressure to conform to gender norms. Over 38% of the students felt positive about their ethnicity and felt content/typical with their gender. 26% percent felt that their ethnicity was not important and felt no pressure to conform to gender norms. 20% of the students felt that their ethnicity was not important but was discontent with the gender norms. Finally, 9% felt that their ethnicity was positive and important and were content with gender norms. In this study the awareness of gender and ethnic bias varied by age group. It comes as no surprise that children become more aware of gender bias than ethnic bias at a young age. As the text mentions, gender identity is discovered at preschool age in which the process of gender typing begins. This is where boys and girls begin to get in touch with their masculine and feminine characteristics (Wade Tavris, 2011, pg. 107). Ethinic identity creates a sense of emotional attachment to the group and the individual feels the need to conform to the values set forth (Wade Tavris, 2011, pg. 350). This study further showed that European American students were more aware of gender bias than ethnic bias. In middle school all students were equally aware of both biases but African american and Latinos were likely to be aware of ethnic bias in elementary school. The potential cause of this stemmed from belonging to a negatively stereotyped group which raised the earlier awareness. This showed that European American students were less likely to be targeted for ethnic bias ( Developmental Psychology, 2011). In early adolescence girls were more aware of gender bias than boys and could attest to being targets of discrimation. Conclusion The conduction of this study proved that children in late childhood and adolescence were more aware of gender bias than ethnic bias. In addition the results showed that children who were non European-American experienced and identified with ethnic bias at an earlier age. The limitations to this study was the demographics. This study was conducted in Los Angeles which has a very unique demographic because it is essentially a melting pot of ethnicities. The different socioeconomical factors and educational inequalities impacted the outcome of the results. Children in the poorest schools had more challenges to encounter in school than their peers in this study. These experiences molded their ethnic identities and the biases associated with it. During late childhood an adolescence development, group identity and intergroup relations became important factors. It is expected that this age group no matter the gender/ethnicity will witness or be a target of discrimination. Although legal segregation is a thing of the past, gender and ethnic bias can greatly impact society but the attitudes and beliefs of individuals can be contained through intervention. With intervention at the earlier stages of development, children can fully witness equality. Future research methods inspired by this article should focus on the data collected from various locations throughout the country. Keeping this research generalized to one location compromises the true validity of the study. New research methods will determine how different ethnicities identify with gender and ethnic bias. Other areas of concentration that should be included in this study are the workforce, judicial system and media/television. Successful results of these research methods can pave the way for some individuals to change their ideologies. These studies can impact the lives of everyday people and potentially unveil solutions to discrimination. As we become a more multicultural country, we must realize the importance of cultural awareness so that we can better interact with different ethnicities/genders. Parents should encourage their to children to foster positive relationships with their peers despite cultural difference. These solutions will alleviate the stereotypes associated with gender and ethnic identity. References Brown, C. , Alabi, B. , Huynh, V. , Masten, C.. (2011). Ethnicity and Gender in Late Childhood and Early Adolescence: Group Identity and Awareness of Bias. Developmental Psychology, 47(2), 463. Retrieved May 21, 2011, from Research Library. (Document ID: 2321539051) Wade, C. , Tavris, C. (2011). Invitation to Psychology, fifth Edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
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