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April 1964

Color and Identity Conflict in Young Boys: II. Observations of White Mothers and Sons in Urban Baltimore

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1964;10(4):354-360. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1964.01720220032007

An earlier paper1 reported observations of young Negro boys' perceptions of themselves and their mothers' attempts to indoctrinate them in respect to their color status. The present investigation, carried out in an identical manner and at the same time, dealt with 11 pairs of white mothers and sons.

It was assumed that white adults living in urban Baltimore are chronically aware of the presence of Negroes* as a psychological and economic threat and that this awareness and its covert or overt reflections must constitute important elements of their children's developmental context. Remarks and attitudes of peers, newspapers and magazine headlines, and photographs, as well as information from a large variety of other sources, would seem to ensure the development of non-neutral attitudes toward Negroes, even in white children with very limited personal contacts with them. On the other hand, as members