Will white paper make your child racist?
According to Anne O’Connor, an “early years consultant who advises local authorities on equality and diversity,” it may, reports the UK Telegraph.
Julie Henry writes:
Children should be provided with paper other than white to drawn on and paints and crayons should come in “the full range of flesh tones”, reflecting the diversity of the human race, according to the former teacher.
Not only that, O’Connor says witches’ traditional black pointy hats should be replaced with pink ones while fairies should be dressed in darker colors.
The Telegraph adds:
Finally, staff should be prepared to be economical with the truth when asked by pupils what their favourite colour is and, in the interests of good race relations, answer “black” or “brown”.
The measures, outlined in a series of guides in Nursery World magazine, are aimed at avoiding racial bias in toddlers as young as two.
O’Connor says the approach is based on an “anti-bias” model of education, designed to develop children’s empathy and help teachers of young children “explore their own conditioning and possible prejudices.”
“This is an incredibly complex subject that can easily become simplified and inaccurately portrayed,” O’Connor said.
“People who are feeling defensive can say ‘well there’s nothing wrong with white paper’, but in reality there could be if you don’t see yourself reflected in the things around you. “As an early years teacher, the minute you start thinking, ‘well actually, if I give everyone green paper, what happens’, you have a teaching potential,” she added.
But is this approach simply political correctness gone mad?
After all, if white paper can cause racism, what about white socks, or white automobiles, or snow?
O’Connor dismisses the idea, saying that political correctness has actually helped minimize certain stereotypes.
“People might criticise this as political correctness gone mad. But it is because of political correctness we have moved on enormously. If you think that we now take it for granted that our buildings and public highways are adapted so people in wheelchairs and with pushchairs can move around. Years ago if you were in a wheelchair, then tough luck. We have completely moved and we wouldn’t have done that without the equality movement,” she said.
Not everyone is buying into O’Connor’s theories, however.
Henry quotes Margaret Morrissey, a spokeswoman for the Parents Outloud campaigning group, who disagrees with O’Connor:
“I’m sure these early years experts know their field but they seem to be obsessed about colour and determined to make everyone else obsessed about it too.
“Not allowing toy witches to wear black seems to me nonsense and in the same vein as those people who have a problem with ‘Bar Bar Black Sheep’ or ‘The Three Little Pigs’.
Children just see a sheep in a field, whether it be black, grey, white or beige. I have worked with children for 41 years and I don’t believe I have ever met a two year old who was in any way racist or prejudice.”
Henry says research shows that racial bias can exist in children as young as four.
Citing an experiment conducted for BBC, she explains:
“…children were presented with a series of images of faces of men, women, boys or girls. Only one of the faces in each sequence was white.
Children were asked to pick out the face of the person they wanted as their friend and the person they thought would be most likely to get in to trouble.
Almost all white children in the survey associated positive qualities exclusively with photographs of white children or adults. More than half of the black children made the same associations.
In contrast, people with darker faces were viewed as troublemakers.”
And to think all this time, we have been told that racism is due to the fact that a black man is President of the United States.
One can only wonder how long it will be before the Congressional Black Caucus demands darker color paper in elementary schools.
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