In this opinion piece, Sandra Davie, the Straits Times Education Correspondent, recalled her recent visit to a pre-school when interviewing NTU’s Assoc Prof Setoh Pei Pei. She had published a study in 2017, showing that pre-school children here can develop racial preferences by age three, especially if they belong to the majority race. The study showed that Chinese children in pre-schools, unlike their Indian peers, showed implicit bias (unconscious attitudes) and explicit bias (overt biased behaviours) favouring their own race. Prof Setoh though told Sandra that there was no need for alarm – her team’s findings are consistent with the findings around the world “where pre-schoolers favour their own-gender and own-race children, and prefer to befriend native speakers of their language over children with foreign accents”.
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