Monday, July 07, 2008

Identifying Baby Racists

The Telegraph (UK) reported today that the British government has new bureacratic guidelines aimed at identifying racism in children as young as age 3.

The National Children's Bureau, which receives £12 million a year, mainly from Government funded organisations, has issued guidance to play leaders and nursery teachers advising them to be alert for racist incidents among youngsters in their care.

This could include a child of as young as three who says "yuk" in response to being served unfamiliar foreign food.

The guidance by the NCB is designed to draw attention to potentially-racist attitudes in youngsters from a young age.

It advises nursery teachers to be on the alert for childish abuse such as: "blackie", "Pakis", "those people" or "they smell".

Staff are told: "No racist incident should be ignored. When there is a clear racist incident, it is necessary to be specific in condemning the action."

Nurseries are encouraged to report as many incidents as possible to their local council.

I hope the NCB has poured plenty of funding into the country's local councils to help them handle the deluge of baby racism reports. Little kids say "Yuck!" to all kinds of food, especially vegetables, foreign or otherwise.

I can understand the desire to be alert for overt racial name-calling, because that can indicate prejudices instilled by the parents. My nephew, when he was almost two years old, knew what he wasn't, because his dad taught him:

DAD: Son, are you an Aggie?

SON: (Horrified) NOOOOO!!!!

An Aggie, by the way, is not a race. It is someone at/from Texas A&M, and as far as I know, this exchange will not get my nephew or his dad into any trouble with anybody except Aggies. But if my nephew had been taught to be horrified by being a "blackie" or a "Paki" and mentioned it in nursery school by calling the dark-skinned kids these names, then that would be a problem.

I'd go along with having the nursery school teachers gently correct the racists-in-training that "We don't use words like that," but reporting them to the local councils is going way too far.

Will the teachers be reporting the Pakistani and black students who call the white kids "those people"? Will they report foreign-born toddlers who say "yuck" to haggis as racists?

The drive to stigmatize our kids as racist in the interest of stopping racism is absurd. What's next? Giving a criminal record to babies who squint ("See? He's a hater.") in their brand-new newborn photos?


Tsofah said...

What about those who imitate Curly of the Three Stooges? Will their parents be reported if they say "Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk!"?

Sigh. Some things are just ridiculous

j a n said...

Well, and "you smell," or the more popular "you stink!" are favorites of most of the little ones I've ever known. :-) You've probably read about the 5-yr-old who now has a record of "sexual harassment" for swatting another child on the rear.

If only we could just break them of being children! sheesh!