Analysis Of Kenneth Clark's Research On Racial Identity In Minority Children

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The findings presented in Kenneth Clark’s research on racial identity in minority children and his activities in the civil rights movement led to his participation in the Brown vs. the Board of Education court case in Topeka, Kansas. The Brown case, a U.S. Supreme Court case, involved the desegregation of schools in Kansas, Virginia, South Carolina and Delaware. One of the many questions asked during the Brown case, was whether children being physically separated by race, even though the quality of education was the same, effected the racial tension, stereotyping and identity of black and white children (Library of Congress, 2004). During the Brown case, Dr. Clark conveyed that black children were aware of their inferiority towards white children …show more content…
Kenneth B. Clark’s legacy has lived on and will continue to inspire because, even today, in the 21st century, there are many ideas and problems that Clark addresses in the realm of prejudice and racism that are still relevant in social identity, education and the workplace in America. Clark was a social psychologist who was a firm believer in equality, though he knew that racial division would be a difficult task to overcome, he still thought it was a concept that was necessary for America to progress in. One of the many researchers that have continued Clark’s work is Thomas F. Pettigrew. Pettigrew (2004) suggests that America is not where it needs to in reference to equal opportunity. Pettigrew does acknowledge that there has been many steps forward since the Brown case and Clark’ s doll studies, but believes there has, also been many steps taken backwards in regards to the progress of racial equality and opportunity (Pettigrew, 2004). According to Pettigrew (2004) racial prejudices have come to be much less blatant but still have the same effect on the people exposed to it. Though racial prejudices are still prevalent, the source of the tension is much more difficult to identify. As did Clark suggest, Pettigrew (2004) also believes that for change to consistently and proficiently occur, it must happen in a “top-down” manner. Those who hold powerful positions must be willing to change first, because they are of great influence to the public. Clark’s theories of …show more content…
Research on prejudices and stereotyping has continued in the area of education. According to Steele (2004), the framework of one’s life can be controlled by their social identity and that people must contend to the prejudices and stereotypes that they socially must identify with. Further research suggests that those who are exposed to negative stereotypes are influenced either by believing or mimicking the stereotype or, both (Steele, 2004). Steele (2004) found that stereotypes have contributed to the underperformance of minority groups in the school setting. As suggested by Clark, Steele (2004) also believes that conforming to suggested stereotypes weakens the social identity and brings severe deficits in the ability of student to excel in the classroom. Clark’s ideas on stereotyping were elaborated on the notion that stereotype threat does not only affect minority groups, but can exhibit deficits in any group of individuals. For instance, Steele (2004) offers the example of white vs. black athletes and how in many sports (e.g. basketball or football) white athletes have shown to feel less competent in comparison to black athletes because of stereotypes that give this opinion. Clark’s thoughts on stereotyping have influenced social science research in broadening the range of issues concerning social identity to not only

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