In a Developmental Science study of preschool-aged children, implicit and explicit evaluations of Black boys were less positive than evaluations of Black girls, White boys, or White girls.
This "gendered racial bias" was exhibited by both White and non-White children and was not correlated with their exposure to diversity. It also mirrors social bias observed in adults.
The study, which reveals the earliest evidence of bias at the intersection of race and gender, underscores the importance of addressing bias in the first years of life.
"Our results suggest that children are attuned to nuanced patterns of social bias at a surprisingly young age," said lead author Danielle Perszyk, of Northwestern University. "This means that efforts to counter such bias must begin very early in children's development."