Ethnic identity and discrimination among children
We engaged over 430 Canadian children in a series of activities designed to reveal their evaluations of three ethnic groups (White, East Asian and South Asian), their identification with these groups, and their behavior towards them in a dictator game. Our experiments took place at the children’s schools during their normal school day, allowing us to evaluate the salience and effects of ethnic identities on economically relevant behavior in an important natural setting. We find that children from the dominant White category have a clear sense of White ethnic identity, and tend to favor White recipients in the dictator game relative to East Asian or South Asian recipients. Minority East Asian children reveal a more complex ethnic identity; they perceive themselves to be equally similar to White and East Asian children. Unlike Whites, East Asian children do not favor recipients from their own East Asian category, nor do they favor recipients with whom they tend to identify. If anything, East Asian children show out-group favoritism.
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