Biden's HHS funds study to understand why children view 'white males as default people'

'Despite national rises and racial and gender diversity, White men remain vastly overrepresented across a host of domains within the U.S., from media, to politics, to clinical research.'

Biden's HHS funds study to understand why children view 'white males as default people'
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New York University has received a $40,000 grant from Joe Biden’s Department of Health and Human Services to study why children have come to view “white males as default people.” 

The project, as detailed by the grant summary on USASpending.gov, is titled “Societal assumptions regarding typical personhood and their effects on reasoning” and seeks to research the developmental processes of children, by which they “acquire the belief that White males represent the default person — a pattern rooted in the ideologies of androcentrism (centering the experiences of men) and ethnocentrism (centering the experiences of White people) prevalent in the United States.” 

The project, which runs for three years, began in February and ends on Jan. 31, 2025. 

“Despite national rises and racial and gender diversity, White men remain vastly overrepresented across a host of domains within the U.S., from media, to politics, to clinical research,” the description reads. “Such overrepresentation poses severe costs to the rest of society — women of all races, men of color, and gender-nonconforming individuals — particularly within the domain of health, where clinical trials have historically prioritized the experiences, perspectives, and health outcomes of White men.” 

According to the researchers, they intend to understand the “developmental trajectory” that leads children to view white people as the “default,” and “begin to favor Whiteness and maleness over other identities.”

"Young children actively construct knowledge to make sense of their social environments,” the description continues. “As part of this process, children absorb complex streams of information from the sources around them, including parents, peers, and broader societal institutions (e.g. media).” 

“Thus, the beliefs children acquire tend to reflect the dominant ideologies embedded in their specific cultural contexts: Within the United States, androcentrism and ethnocentrism represent two such ideologies,” it states. 

As detailed by Fox News, the grant was awarded by the National Institutes of Health as part of a program to enable predoctoral students to perform their research. 

“The purpose of the training grant is to help postdoctoral students gain the research skills needed to eventually become independent researchers,” said the NIH.

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