Frequently Asked Questions

 

Question: My child doesn't notice racial differences, why should I bring it up?

Answer: "Many parents believe that their own children are oblivious to racial differences, and believe racist behavior in youngsters is created when bigoted parents pass intolerant views to their children. But research suggests otherwise. Racism among children, say psychologist, can be used by another parental behavior: not talking about race. A lack of discussion makes racial differences a taboo subject and contributes to children's negative ideas. A key factor in preventing racism, say many psychologists, is to get children talking about it."

Taken from Talking Openly About Race Thwarts Racism in Children by Erin Burnette.

Question: I am raising my child to be "colorblind," isn't that best?

Answer: The "colorblind" or "color-denial" attitude assumes that differences are insignificant and is exemplified in statements such as "We are all the same" and "A child is a child. I don't notice if they are brown, purple, or green." This is a soothing view for Whites, while blatantly ignoring the daily experience of people of color. It establishes the white experience as the norm, and the differences in others' experience become unimportant. It promotes tokenism and denial of the identity of persons outside the mainstream. Ultimately, the colorblind position results in denial of young children's awareness of differences.

Taken from Anti-Bias Curriculum Tools for Empowering Young Children by Louise Derman-Sparks

Question: Won't an anti-bias curriculum make things worse?

Anwswer: "Concern about addressing differences arises from a mistaken notion of the sources of bias. It is not differences in themselves that cause the problems, but how people respond to differences. It is the response to difference that anti-bias curriculum addresses. If teachers and parents don't talk about differences, as well as similarities, then they can't talk about cultural heritages, or about the struggles of groups and individuals to gain equality and justice. For instance, if teachers don't talk about differences in physical ability, children can't figure out ways to modify the environment so that the differently abled child can be as independent as possible."

Taken from Anti-Bias Curriculum Tools for Empowering Young Children by Louise Derman-Sparks