Racism And The Nature Versus Nurture Debate

During this semester I sought to determine whether racism is due to nature or nurture. I currently have an internship at the Winooski Family Center therefore I decided to interview my clients about issues of racism and get a perspective from the lens of a four year old. I had to be careful with the ways in which I presented my questions to the children because I didn't want to push anything upon them.



  • Five students
  • Four girls and one boy
  • Caucasian,Somali, Nepali
  • 4 years old


Before the interview I placed a set of dolls on the table all from different backgrounds and I asked which doll the child would like to play with while we talked.


The next part of the interview included me showing different pictures of families to the children and asking them questions such as " do you notice anything similar or different between these two families."


For the sake of confidentiality, I have changed the names of my students.

Client one who I will name Bob, chose the black doll because he liked his orange hat. He noticed differences in the color of the different families skin colors

Client 2 who I will name Lisa, picked the girl with the flower dress because she looks like her.

We are one

Client 3 who I will call Sarah chose the girl with the flower dress because she thinks the dress is pretty.

Client 4 who I will name Amber picked the doll that looked Somali because she is also from there.

Client 5 who I will name Melanie picked the girl with the purple shirt because she likes the color purple.

Client 6 who I will call Sasha didn't want to have a structured interview, but I have taken note of some of the things that have been said in the classroom.


  • Racism is a social construction based on the answers the kids told me.
  • Social environment plays a role in shaping perceptions of race.
  • Amygdala study

Sisters, can you tell?


Created with images by maxlkt - "hand united hands united" • Free Grunge Textures - www.freestock.ca - "World Map - Abstract Acrylic" • libertygrace0 - "Children of the World"

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