The following proposal is being submitted by the Latino Caucus in collaboration with our Tri-Caucus partners.
Our historical era has witnessed the explosion of overt racism and other versions of both explicit and implicit exclusionary behaviors, manifested in individual and group behaviors, daily practices, policies, and even armed conflicts against the “other” and “outgroups”; These “out-groups” can be based on class, race/ethnicity, religion, birthplace, gendered behaviors, sexual orientation, ability, and other sociocultural characteristics. We also know that these categories are socially constructed and that for many individuals and groups, intersectionality creates even more risk. As we strive for inclusion, diversity and pluralism around the world, fundamentalist reactions to exclude the “other” appear commonplace.
The proposed special topics meeting would highlight research from a wide variety of interdisciplinary perspectives regarding the construction of the “other”; how do these attitudes and behaviors develop?; why are they so endemic?; what are the contextual conditions that lead to their adoption and, in contrast, to their extinction? We know for example, that in the first years of life, the “other”; is increasingly identified by the language they speak, the “racialized” features that they do not share with the “in-group”; and the “gendered”; behaviors children observe. Why are these particular “others” learned and developed so early? How modifiable are they in the later stages of development? What contextual conditions maintain them or modify them?
We also know how detrimental the attitudes, behaviors, practices and policies that ensue from these constructions affect target individuals and groups. Thus, a second set of research questions will also be included: What does it mean to develop over time within a marginalized group? What are the short- and long-term health and well being consequences of racism on target groups and individuals over time? What are resilience factors that help overcome marginalization and mitigate negative consequences? What effective culturally appropriate interventions lead to healthy long-term development among individuals facing marginalization?
The invited sessions will emphasize the following key factors in answering the proposed questions: understanding how children learn and develop categories of the “other”; examining the evidence on how stable or modifiable these categories at different ages are; identifying the contextual attributes that contribute to the maintenance or fluidity of these constructions; understanding the developmental trajectory of children from marginalized groups in regards to cognitive, social, and health domains; the impact of racism on the short-and long-term cognitive, social, and healthy development of individuals who face marginalization; the effectiveness of laboratory based and real life interventions that result in prejudice reduction and better intergroup relations; and the impact of immigration policies, media, and technology on transnationalism practices.
The main premise of the meeting is to move developmental science forward towards a better understanding of these phenomena and to identify innovative approaches to create more inclusive and integrated societies. One or two edited books or special issues in research journals will be produced highlighting the research on the key topics presented at this meeting.
Ideally this meeting will be held in Puerto Rico, during the winter. This specific location would provide a context for establishing connections with groups considered to be marginalized and provide greater access to scholars, both in Latin America and around the world, engaging in this work. We propose that this conference be held in the late winter/early spring (February -May) when airfares are most reasonable. Further, we believe this will be a very affordable location, given the tourism industries’ eagerness to host conventions and meetings.