At What Age Do Children See Race?

Rosalyn Morris
5 min readMar 20, 2022
Photo by Tina Floersch on Unsplash

It’s probably younger than you think.

Make no mistake about it, I am not calling children racist. Children are sponges and they have eyes. Because they have eyes, “some infants are aware of race,” and because they are sponges, “preschoolers may have already developed racist beliefs,” and this is according to research published by the American Psychological Association.

According to the study, adults, of all races, believed that children shouldn’t learn about race until they are five years old. However “previous research [had] shown that 3-month-old babies prefer faces from certain racial groups, 9-month-olds use race to categorize faces, and 3-year-old children in the U.S. associate some racial groups with negative traits. By age 4, children in the U.S. associate whites with wealth and higher status, and race-based discrimination is already widespread when children start elementary school.”

If you don’t believe this, there was a trending topic on Twitter where Black adults expressed the first time they experienced racism as children — usually at the hands of their white classmates.

If you think that was in the past, a few years ago, my sister’s coworker was looking for a new home. She, her husband, and their four-year-old son, were leaving a…

Rosalyn Morris