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Black Pete through the Eyes of Dutch Children

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PLoS ONE

Public Library of Science

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      Abstract

      The traditional figure of Black Pete seen during the December festivities around Sinterklaas (the Dutch Santa Claus) in the Netherlands has sparked fierce debates about his racial stereotypical characteristics and his potentially negative effects on children’s opinions about black people. The Black Pete phenomenon has even been discussed by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, resulting in a report urging the Netherlands to eliminate this form of racial stereotyping. The adult debate about Black Pete is clearly important, but Sinterklaas is essentially a children’s holiday. Surprisingly, there have never been any systematic studies to examine children’s views on Black Pete. The current study is the first to do so. In a sample of 201 children aged 5–7 years, we collected free descriptions of Black Pete, asked children to group him in relation to other figures, and to assign characteristics to him and comparison figures. The results showed that (1) Children are clearly aware of Black Pete’s skin color and subordinate status; (2) Children associate Black Pete more with clowns than with black people; (3) Children evaluate Black Pete very positively, but the positive characteristics do not generalize to their evaluation of black people. The findings illustrate the deep-rooted childhood origins of many Dutch people’s affection for Black Pete and their lack of awareness of his relation to racial stereotypes. This explains the resistance to changing the Black Pete figure and the slowness of the change process on this front.

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      Exposure to benevolent sexism and complementary gender stereotypes: consequences for specific and diffuse forms of system justification.

      Many have suggested that complementary gender stereotypes of men as agentic (but not communal) and women as communal (but not agentic) serve to increase system justification, but direct experimental support has been lacking. The authors exposed people to specific types of gender-related beliefs and subsequently asked them to complete measures of gender-specific or diffuse system justification. In Studies 1 and 2, activating (a) communal or complementary (communal + agentic) gender stereotypes or (b) benevolent or complementary (benevolent + hostile) sexist items increased support for the status quo among women. In Study 3, activating stereotypes of men as agentic also increased system justification among men and women, but only when women's characteristics were associated with higher status. Results suggest that complementary stereotypes psychologically offset the one-sided advantage of any single group and contribute to an image of society in which everyone benefits through a balanced dispersion of benefits. ((c) 2005 APA, all rights reserved).
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        Standing up for a change: reducing bias through interpersonal confrontation.

        Three experiments examined the effectiveness of interpersonal confrontations as a means for decreasing stereotypic responding. After making stereotypic inferences about Black individuals, participants were confronted and reactions were measured across various intrapersonal and interpersonal response domains. Confrontations varied in level of hostility (Experiment 1) and whether they were expressed by a Black or White person (Experiment 2). Results indicate that although confrontations (and particularly hostile ones) elicited negative emotions and evaluations toward the confronter, participants also experienced negative self-directed affect. Furthermore, regardless of who did the confronting or how much hostility was expressed, confronted participants subsequently were less likely to provide stereotypic responses (Experiments 1-2), and the effect of the confrontation generalized to reporting less prejudiced attitudes (Experiment 3). Copyright 2006 APA.
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          Social norms and self-presentation: children's implicit and explicit intergroup attitudes.

          Two studies examined whether social norms and children's concern for self-presentation affect their intergroup attitudes. Study 1 examined racial intergroup attitudes and normative beliefs among children aged 6 to 16 years (n=155). Accountability (i.e., public self-focus) was experimentally manipulated, and intergroup attitudes were assessed using explicit and implicit measures. Study 2 (n = 134) replicated Study 1, focusing on national intergroup attitudes. Both studies showed that children below 10 years old were externally motivated to inhibit their in-group bias under high public self-focus. Older children were internally motivated to suppress their bias as they showed implicit but not explicit bias. Study 1, in contrast to Study 2, showed that children with low norm internalization suppressed their out-group prejudice under high public self-focus.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            Centre for Child and Family Studies, Leiden University, Leiden, the Netherlands
            University of Jyväskylä, FINLAND
            Author notes

            Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

            Conceived and designed the experiments: JM SJ. Performed the experiments: SJ. Analyzed the data: JM. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: JM SJ LvR. Wrote the paper: JM LvR.

            Contributors
            Role: Editor
            Journal
            PLoS One
            PLoS ONE
            plos
            plosone
            PLoS ONE
            Public Library of Science (San Francisco, CA USA )
            1932-6203
            20 June 2016
            2016
            : 11
            : 6
            27322583
            4913949
            10.1371/journal.pone.0157511
            PONE-D-15-55289
            (Editor)
            © 2016 Mesman et al

            This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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            Figures: 5, Tables: 2, Pages: 14
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            Funding
            The authors have no support or funding to report.
            Categories
            Research Article
            People and Places
            Population Groupings
            Ethnicities
            Dutch People
            Social Sciences
            Sociology
            Human Families
            People and Places
            Population Groupings
            Age Groups
            Children
            People and Places
            Population Groupings
            Families
            Children
            People and Places
            Geographical Locations
            Europe
            Netherlands
            Social Sciences
            Sociology
            Social Discrimination
            Racial Discrimination
            Biology and Life Sciences
            Organisms
            Animals
            Vertebrates
            Amniotes
            Mammals
            Equines
            Horses
            Social Sciences
            Sociology
            Social Discrimination
            Social Sciences
            Sociology
            Social Stratification
            Custom metadata
            The data set and syntax are available on figshare.com ( https://figshare.com/s/6f5393c188fb24daf6a7).

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