Race and the Workforce: Occupational

“the novel occupations that had been depicted with African-Americans were judged as lower in status than had been depicted with European-Americans, demonstrating a causal influence of workers race on childrens judgments. Childrens age and socioeconomic background moderated their occupational judgments.” The results were like this: the children rated 27 familiar occupations in relation to the difficulty to learn, difficulty to perform, pay and its importance. Among younger children of both higher and lower status, thee was more interest in high status jobs than in medium or low status ones. The children coming from lower background were more likely to believe that African-Americans are associated with medium or low level jobs.

The results seem to suggest that race “has a consistent and powerful effect on African-American childrens perceptions of occupations. Children give higher status to the jobs which have high concentrations of European-Americans and low concentrations of African-Americans. Children also rated occupations that had been depicted with only European-American workers as being higher in status than the identical occupations depicted with only African-American workers. Those occupations which were performed exclusively by African-Americans were considered lower in status. The problem is that “African-American children, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, may preferentially seek out low-status jobs in which minorities are well represented and thereby ensure that such jobs remain overpopulated by minorities” allowing for the future generations to grow up with the same stereotypes.

In addition, “those medium and high status jobs that do attract an increasing proportion of African-American workers (perhaps from more advantaged households) may across time, be viewed as lower in status simply as a function of the race of the worker and consequently show decreasing levels of pay and prestige.”

The conclusions of the research are extremely interesting and it could be stated that the main limitation is to be found in the reduced number of children that were interviewed. Furthermore, it would have been interesting to see if this kind of stereotypes affects white children. The article for definitely helpful for my future bachelor in nursing. I believe that knowing what stereotypes children are most likely to adopt is important. Stereotyped thinking is harmful and from an early age children must be taught that it is fundamental for them to keep an open mind about everything and subject everything to their personal judgment, not allowing other people or the media to impose values and opinions on them. The article has a strong significance through that it opens an area of research which could help improve the development of the future generations of African-American children.


Bigler, R., Averhart, C.J., Liben, L.S.”Race and the workforce: occupational status, aspirations and stereotyping among African-American children.” Development psychology, 2003, vol..

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