Can a person’s race change over time? No — but preschoolers seem to think so.
According to a University of Michigan study, white preschoolers often believe a person’s race can change over time, and the youngsters even think they can can grow up to become black adults.
Steven Roberts, a U-M doctoral student and the study’s lead author, said that although children may be aware of races other than their own, they don’t have a strong understanding of what race is — at least not to the degree of adults.
Roberts and colleague Susan Gelman, U-M professor of psychology and linguistics, examined the extent that children believed race was stable; that is, whether a black child would grow up to be a black adult.
The experiment included 74 children and 28 adults. Children were recruited in the Midwest at museums, and adults were recruited online.The data were collected between 2014 and 2015.