London Metropolitan University Research Institutes

The relation between the ethnic attitudes of Romanian children and their parents towards the Roma minority group

Author(s) Bogdan, D., Secui, M. & Danciu, M.  
Publisher London: CiCe  
Year 2010  
Editor P. Cunningham & N. Fretwell, Lifelong Learning and Active Citizenship  
Age group -  
An impressive body of literature has addressed the topic of children’s ethnic prejudice, our research has as its starting point the problem of intergenerational transmission. In the first study, a sample of Romanian elementary school students (N=90), aged 7 or 8 years, completed a set of measures (interviews and attitude scales) designed to evaluate the prejudice and stereotypes toward Roma population. Consistent to our prediction, results revealed a positive correlation between children and parents in terms of their ethnic attitudes. The second study investigated the problem of subtle forms of discrimination in children, based on an experimental design. The participants (N=90) listened to a short story about a boy who finds himself in a difficult situation and needs help. In the story the boy’s ethnic membership (Roma vs. Romanian) was manipulated, together with the cause which led to the problematic situation (the boy’s misconduct/ internal attribution vs. the mistake of the others/ external attribution). In the case of external causal attribution, the intention to help was expressed by a large number of participants, regardless of the ethnic membership of the character, but when it was the boy’s fault (internal attribution), the children’s declared intention to help or not varies according to the ethnic group of the boy: a statistically significant higher number of children expressed the intention to help the in-group member (the boys presented as being Romanian) as compared to the situation of out-group member (the boy presented as Roma minority). The present article emphasizes the importance of investigating the influence that parents have on the development of ethnic prejudice and of studying the subtle and covert forms of discrimination in middle childhood. Key words: ethnic prejudice, middle childhood, discrimination

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