Segregation at an Early Age

Published by the Center for Education and Civil Rights and the National Coalition for School Diversity (a coalition that IntegratedSchools.org is proud to be a member of!).

 

From one of my favorite people and writers, Andrew Grant-Thomas’s foreword “As much as many white parents in particular are tempted to try, we cannot “protect” our children from race. By six months of age infants are noticing racial difference; by age four or five, children have begun to internalize racial bias. As parents, teachers, and other caring adults in the lives of children, our challenge is to nurture children who have the language, discernment, and inclusive sensibilities they will need to envision and create the institutions of authentic racial inclusion and belonging that remain among the United States’ most pressing works in progress.

 

The promising news is that in the midst of the present turmoil more and more people of all racial stripes are calling for ways to do the work of racial healing and justice in our homes, schools, and communities. It is my fervent hope that this brief report can help sound the alarm about the imperative to begin that work with the youngest among us.”

 

From Frankenberg’s Report: “There are a range of potential social benefits of early exposure to diversity for students from all racial and economic backgrounds. After all, by six months of age, children are beginning to make racial distinctions, and sometime between ages 3 and 5, children develop racial biases. A key pathway to helping to shape the emergence of healthy attitudes in young children are precisely what a high-quality, racially diverse preschool setting could provide: diverse, equal-status settings.

 

For example, exposure to diverse faces in early childhood has been shown to reduce adults’ implicit bias towards black individuals. Students attending diverse kindergartens, for example, in one study were found to have more cross-racial interactions and friendships, which are important for reducing prejudice. Further some work suggests that cross-racial friend- ships are more frequent among younger elementary school children. During the deseg- regation era, the conclusion of researchers was that students were most likely to benefit from racially diverse schools when structured to allow for equal status interaction and when cross-racial experience was earliest.”

 

read the entire report here

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