Geographies of Children

Gender and Race

In our observations, we noticed that there were not many differences amongst race and/or gender. However, the intersection of race and gender together showed clear patterns of difference. In the mental maps completed by black girls, the maps appear to be neater than the other race/gender groups, and they also appear to be more detailed. Mental maps completed by black girls were mostly to have pictures and labels. They also had paths, but the paths were more simple and neat. This is seen in maps by Students 5, 10, 21, 23, and 25. In mental maps completed by white boys, the two mental maps were quite similar. Both maps recognized the lake as the starting point and worked from that. They also had interesting paths and were somewhat neat. In the mental maps completed by white girls, ¾ of the maps were path-heavy, meaning the students attempted to draw the number of paths within the park. The abundance of paths in some ways made it harder to make the map look “neat” so there is also a lack of neatness in the maps of white girls in the class. This is clear in Student 4, 13, and 14, as there are no labels and the maps are not at all picture-oriented. Lastly, in the mental maps completed by black boys, there is a collective lack of details on the mental maps. Specifically, in Student 9 and 16, there is a lack of detail and structure in the mental map of the park. Student 18 is an outlier who drew a very detail-oriented map. In conclusion, the intersection of race and gender together showed differences through the mental mapping of the mark which included differences amongst detail, labeling, and drawing of paths.

When analyzing gender alone, overall, our research provided us with an answer to several race, gender, and distance factors. In terms of looking at gender alone, the mental mapping interviews by themselves were different with examining gender dynamics. The female students who gave us their preferred/designated gender information were significantly more precise and picky when describing their likes, dislikes, and interests; the male students who provided us with gender orientation were less picky. The male students had shorter interview times than the female students, and the female students were in agreement about several factors: they did not like walking around the park because they felt it was a “waste”, or that they “walked too much” instead of getting a chance to just enjoy the park. These shared dislikes were not to an overwhelmingly high degree of dislikes shared by all female-identifying students, but they are a small generalization made from several female students within the group of female-identifying students.

Another interesting gender trend is how students primarily hung out with other people of the same gender. Any time a student mentioned “friends” or “classmates” if they were male, they talked about other boys; if they were female, they talked about other females. The only distinction made with this finding is when there is the discussion of the family; some female students had male family members, and they discussed doing activities with them.
Lastly, female students used more activity-based cognizance to help them draw the park; males were less focused on their favorite activities and more on the structure of the park.