I was so proud yesterday to live in Chichester. standing with my teenage children. All age groups, old, young, families with small children, single people all united as one (socially distanced and protected) to march through Chichester to Priory park in a peaceful protest for #Blacklivesmatter. So many people showing their collective support that enough is enough against racism.
My heart broke several times during the afternoon at the stories we were being told of how people have been treated in their lives and the racism people had experienced in education. However, nothing could have prepared me for the reaction I had when I saw a beautiful little girl, about 3 years old (so the same age as I teach everyday) with a sign saying ‘please don’t kill my daddy’.
I felt so sad that these parents were having to talk to their child about the risks her daddy has to face daily. I cannot put myself in these parents shoes having to educate their children about racism and the world we live in at such a young age.
As preschool educators we work tiredly to make sure we have diverse toys and books, we are all equal, children do not see difference they see friends, fun, play, enjoyment. As educators it’s our responsibility to check and question comments or reactions we hear or see from children or parents, we must challenge harmful comments about racism, homophobia, transphobia, disabilities and other groups in society that are oppressed.
In my years of working with children I’ve had one experience where a parent thought that what I was telling his daughter had done was amusing and that they refer to black people at home as the word the daughter used. The little girl wanted a baby, the baby that had just stopped being played with was the black baby. As I picked up the baby and started to model playing with it the girl said, “I don’t want it, that’s not a baby, it’s a boom boom.”
When challenged she replied that’s what we call them at home and we don’t want any of those in our house. After educating the child and explaining to her, (through books and puppetry) that all children are people and everyone should be defined by their personality and character not by the colour of their skin. The girl still refused the baby. showing how harmful the opinions you afflict on your children can be.
I urge you to please educate your children and help spreading the word as they are the future and can really make an impactful difference to society.
Below are some links to books about diversity, these can be helpful ways to begin educating your children: