Friendships between people of different races are common until about the age of 10, when children begin to self-segregate.
“The long-standing assumption has been that children become more prejudiced at this age,”
Evan Apfelbaum and Kristin Pauker write in Time, but new research suggests that children’s hesitation to socialize across racial lines has more to do with their understanding of prejudice. In a pair of studies, researchers found that children who view prejudice as an immutable trait were less likely to interact with cross-race peers.
“Even children who showed low levels of prejudice showed less interest engaging across racial lines when they thought prejudice was fixed,”
write Apfelbaum and Pauker. In other words, talking about prejudice as a malleable quality that can be overcome may help prevent children from avoiding interracial interactions. [TIME]