The Politics of Race and Gender: Children's Perceptions of Discrimination and the U.S. Presidency


*Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Rebecca S. Bigler, Department of Psychology, 1 University Station A8000, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712 [e-mail:].


In the year prior to Hillary Clinton's and Barack Obama's bids to become the Democratic nominee for the U.S. presidency, we explored children's views about the role of race and gender in the U.S. presidency, with a specific focus on perceptions of discrimination. Specifically, we examined children's (aged 5 to 10) knowledge of and attributions for the lack of female (Study 1, N = 76), African American (Study 2, N = 64), and Latino (Study 3, N = 65) presidents. Results indicated that children are knowledgeable about the gender, race, and ethnicity of past presidents, and that many children attribute the lack of female, African American, and Latino presidents to gender and racial discrimination. Theoretical and policy implications of the work are discussed.