You’ve got to be carefully taught….or maybe not.
The first theatrical production I had anything to do with was in High School, South Pacific. I always liked it and especially this scene.
But research now is showing that babies are NOT the blank slates that we have supposed. They we are born with inherent likes and dislikes and a moral code, and unfortunately a bias as well. As Paul Bloom from the Yale University Infant Cognition Center point out here.
The research does show, according to Bloom, that children just a few months old can judge a person’s character — siding with the “good” puppet and not with the “bad” puppet.
But Bloom said the research also shows something else, which gives this parent pause. Babies, Bloom said, are born with an inherent bias, and start off as “little bigots, eagerly dividing the world into ‘us versus them’ and strongly favoring their own group over everyone else.”
“They prefer puppets who have the same tastes as them and they actually want the puppets with the different tastes — they like other puppets who punish them,” Bloom said during a Google+ hangout. “So early on, one of the most tragic aspects of humanity is how we split the world into ‘us versus them’ and we find this from the earliest age we can test.”
That we as humans are born with a particular bias. That segment can be watched here. Combine that with research that suggest that memories can be inherited and it would seem the humans are set up from the first to be racist ass-holes. That we all aren’t is a testament to the parenting skills of most people.
This could explain the tribalistic behaviours that have been expressed so much and we seem not to be able to rid ourselves of so far. That people are not necessarily taught, but are encouraged as well as exploited toward the benefit of some other group. It may have proved to be of use at some time in antiquity but is very much detrimental now.
It also shows that we need to be aware of this and work to enlighten our children at a very early age. That appropriate teaching and guidance is essential from the start. A heavy burden indeed.
I would like to thank my cousin – a PHD in Sociology and former associate Dean at UNC – for pointing me to this information.