Health & Spirit

Teaching your kids not to be racially biased

By Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. on

In game three of the World Series, the Houston Astros' Yuli Gurriel was suspended for the first five games of the 2018 season for his cruel and insensitive mockery of the LA Dodgers' Japanese-Iranian pitcher Yu Darvish. Gurriel's words and gesture -- ridiculing Darvish's Asian eye shape -- reveal humans' all-too-frequent tendency to negatively define any group that is "other." (The Cuban-born Gurriel may have experienced the same kind of derision toward Latinos, but not learned from those experiences.)

So how can you guard against your children acquiring a racial bias? Researchers suggest that one way is by teaching them to identify individual faces of those of other races they come in contact with. It banishes the all-X-look-the-same attitude that allows for gross stereotypes and opens a gateway to perceived individuality.

The study in the journal Child Development had 4- to 6-year-old Chinese children spend two 20-minute sessions playing with a touch-screen app that helped them learn how to distinguish individual black faces -- and then measured how it significantly reduced their implicit anti-black bias. This bias reduction lasted for at least two months (that's when the researchers rechecked).

The researchers point out their study looked at implicit bias, or the extent to which humans have subconscious negative and positive associations with different races. But, says Gail Heyman, a professor of psychology at UC San Diego and co-author of the study, "We think that reducing implicit racial bias in children could be a starting point for addressing a pernicious social problem ... racial discrimination [and] systemic, structural racism."


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Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit

(c) 2017 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2017 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


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