Unraveling Bias: How Prejudice Has Shaped Children for Generations and Why It's Time to Break the Cycle

Unraveling Bias: How Prejudice Has Shaped Children for Generations and Why It's Time to Break the Cycle

by Christia Spears Brown
Unraveling Bias: How Prejudice Has Shaped Children for Generations and Why It's Time to Break the Cycle

Unraveling Bias: How Prejudice Has Shaped Children for Generations and Why It's Time to Break the Cycle

by Christia Spears Brown


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“Timely, informative, thought-provoking, inspirationally motivating.” —Midwest Book Review

"[Brown] offers pragmatic advice for teachers on how to stand up for diversity and inclusiveness in the classroom." —San Francisco Book Review

We need only scan the latest news headlines to see how bias and prejudice harm adults and children alike—every single day.

Police shootings that give rise to the Black Lives Matter revolution . . . rampant sexual harassment of women and the subsequent #MeToo movement . . . extreme violence toward trans men and women.

It would be easy to fix these problems if the examples stopped with a few racist or sexist individuals, but there are also biases embedded in our government policies, media, and institutions.

As a developmental psychologist and international expert on stereotypes and discrimination in children, Dr. Christia Spears Brown knows that biases and prejudice don’t just develop as people become adults (or CEOs or politicians). They begin when children are young, slowly growing and exposed to prejudice in their classrooms, after-school activities, and, yes, even in their homes, no matter how enlightened their parents may consider themselves to be. The only way to have a more just and equitable world—not to mention more broad-minded, empathetic children—is for parents to closely examine biases beginning in childhood and how they infiltrate our kids’ lives.

In her new book Unraveling Bias: How Prejudice Has Shaped Children for Generations and Why It's Time to Break the Cycle, Dr. Brown will uncover what scientists have learned about how children are impacted by biases, and how we adults can help protect them from those biases. Part science, part history, part current events, and part call to arms, Unraveling Bias provides readers with the answers to vital questions:

• How do biased policies, schools, and media harm our children?
• Where does childhood prejudice come from, and how do these prejudices shape children’s behavior, goals, relationships, and beliefs about themselves?
• What can we learn from modern-day science to help us protect our children from these biases?

Few issues today are as critical as being aware of bias and prejudice all around us and making sure our kids don’t succumb to them. To change lives and advance society, it’s time to unravel our biases—starting with the future leaders of the world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781953295552
Publisher: BenBella Books, Inc.
Publication date: 11/30/2021
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 982,486
Product dimensions: 8.90(w) x 5.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Christia Spears Brown, PhD, is a Professor of Developmental Psychology, and the Director of the Center for Equality and Social Justice, at the University of Kentucky. Her research focuses on children’s experiences with ethic, racial, and gender discrimination and stereotypes and how racism and sexism impacts the academic, social, and psychological lives of children and teens. In addition to award-winning scientific research articles, chapters, and academic books, and numerous teaching awards, she is the author of Parenting Beyond Pink and Blue: How to Raise Children Free of Gender Stereotypes. She was the 2019 Society for Research in Child Development Scholar-in-Residence. She regularly speaks with and consults parent groups, schools and teachers, toy and media companies, and businesses about reducing the impact of stereotypes, is regularly featured in international media outlets, and has served as an expert witness for the ACLU on cases of gender discrimination in schools.

Table of Contents

Foreword xi

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 A Primer on Bias 5

Part I The Biases Embedded in Children's Institutions

Chapter 2 When the Courts First Listened to Social Scientists: How Racial Bias Shaped American Schools and the Fight to Change It 25

Chapter 3 All of America's Children: How Immigration Laws Have Shaped the Lives of Latino American Children 41

Chapter 4 Boys and Girls Weren't Segregated, but the School Day Wasn't Equal: The Battle for Title IX and Protection from Sexual Harassment 52

Chapter 5 Civil Rights Are Not Just Black and White: The Legal Battles to Protect Gay and Trans Teens in Schools 64

Part II Bias in Children's Everyday Lives

Chapter 6 First Forays into the Social Science of Bias: Scientists Started by Asking Children About Race 85

Chapter 7 Racial Bias into the New Century: A Snapshot of Bias in Schools, Neighborhoods, and Social Media 104

Chapter 8 Border Walls, Travel Bans, and Global Pandemics: Political Rhetoric, Immigration Laws, and Bias Toward Children of Immigrants 125

Chapter 9 Gender Gaps, #MeToo, and Toxic Masculinity: The Gender Biases That Persist 150

Chapter 10 When the Authentic Is Invisible, but the Slurs Are Everyday: Bias Toward LGBTQ+ and Gender-Nonconforming Youth 172

Part III Moving Forward

Chapter 11 Unraveling Bias Can Start at Home 191

Chapter 12 How Schools and the Community Can Help 207

Chapter 13 Changing the Bigger Picture 216

Chapter 14 What to Leave With 226

Acknowledgments 228

Timeline 231

Glossary/Directory 237

Notes 242

Index 271

About the Author 278

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"[Brown] offers pragmatic advice for teachers on how to stand up for diversity and inclusiveness in the classroom. Beyond inspiring individual action, she also emphasizes the importance of changing cultures, systems, and policies that perpetuate biases and maintain inequities."
San Francisco Book Review

“Timely, informative, thought-provoking, inspirationally motivating.”
Midwest Book Review

“In this enlightening book, Dr. Christia Spears Brown explains very clearly how we develop biases as children and how those biases get reinforced over time by policies and institutions. Best of all, Unraveling Bias offers actionable steps that parents, educators, and policymakers can take to eradicate bias and discrimination from our society.”
—Lara S. Kaufmann, director of public policy at Girls Inc.

Unraveling Bias is truly remarkable, timely, and incredibly important. This is a book that parents, educators, and policymakers will highlight, dog-ear, and refer back to time and time again. I wish it had existed years ago, but I’m so grateful to have it now!”
Dolly Chugh, author of The Person You Mean to Be

“This book is crucial for our times, not just because it synthesizes the relevant research, but because it provides the pathways for families, schools, and communities to unravel and break the cycle of bias.”
—Stephen T. Russell, Priscilla Pond Flawn Regents Professor in Child Development at the University of Texas at Austin

“Dr. Christia Spears Brown has given us an invaluable resource with her deeply researched book about how bias develops, how it affects our children, and how we can successfully fight it. This should be required reading for every American.”
Melinda Wenner Moyer, author of How to Raise Kids Who Aren’t Assholes

“With a compassionate voice, ample research evidence, quotes from youths and parents, and insights from legal scholars and the courts, Dr. Christia Spears Brown charts pathways for breaking down entrenched patterns of discrimination and opening up new conversations about the pervasiveness and effects of bias in our society.”
—Linda R. Tropp, PhD, professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst

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