Monday, May 08, 2006

Racist toddlers

Sometimes the world gets really, really silly. A former chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality is now worried about racist parents raising angry little racist toddlers; three year old racists. Lord Ouseley recommends that staff intervene if they see a lack of interethnic bonding in their charges.

I honestly don't have the knowledge to challenge the empirics here but while there may be some racist toddlers out there I doubt that their numbers are particularly large. Now, every so often groupings that look racial will appear entirely at random. Suppose a nursery took Lord Ouseley's advice and intervened to ensure greater racial mixing. Couldn't that actually lead to a large number of entirely bemused toddlers being introduced to racial distinction thanks to the advice of a former chair of the CRE?

I think a more sober analysis comes from Margaret Morrissey, of the National Confederation of PTAs.
"In all the time I have been involved in nursery education, since about
1975, I have never seen children segregating to play,"


Anonymous said...

I nearly blogged on the very same article - I just didn't have the time.

Interesting that a woman who has been 'on the front line' of nursery education for 30 years has never seen racist todlers, but a co-author of the article is a "early-years equality adviser" - most likely with little or no front line experience - seems to think otherwise.

I wonder who is right? The answer boils down to whether we believe someone with a vested interest in showing racism exists in early-years (for without it we wouldn't need "early-years equality advisers") - over someone with experience.

Ellee Seymour said...

It's bigoted parents who need to be more responsible about this as they are the role models for their young. Racial comments are often said without any thought of their meaning so I guesss trying to educate them about this is a good idea, albeit sad that it is necessary in the first place. Let's hope the tiny tots go home and educate their paretns.