The role of status in the early emergence of pro-White bias in rural Uganda

Dev Sci. 2022 Jul;25(4):e13240. doi: 10.1111/desc.13240. Epub 2022 Feb 16.


Research investigating the early emergence of racial prejudice has been largely limited to contexts in which racial prejudice is most likely to emerge-multiracial societies that have pronounced racial inequality (e.g., United States, South Africa). The present study assessed whether pro-White racial bias is also early emerging in a homogenous Black community that has little exposure to modern media and where children presumably experience less overt discrimination than in past samples. Black African children (N = 214) between 5- and 12-years-old living in rural Uganda exhibited substantial pro-White racial bias, preferring White over Black children 78% of the time. Ugandan children also judged White children as higher status than Black children, and these status judgments predicted their degree of pro-White bias. Our results indicate that pro-White racial biases can emerge even in a homogenous Black community and that, in some contexts, minimal status cues can be sufficient for the early development of racial prejudice.

Keywords: development; prejudice; race; social status.

MeSH terms

  • Bias
  • Black People
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Racism*
  • Uganda
  • White People