Monday, May 08, 2006

Why don't you pick on someone your own size? But of course, there's no one as small as you!

Here is ultimate proof that white guilt is destroying sanity in the west. In a normal world, wouldn't one want infants sitting up and paying attention to the many differences in the human world? Differentiation, after all, is fundamental to human language and culture and one cannot learn but through the differentiation of one's consciousness. Furthermore, humanity could not survive its conflicts if we were not continually deferring them by differentiating ourselves in one manner or another.

But it seems that this fundamental human survival mechanism is under attack in the country formerly home to free and independent British people. It is as if their traditional indulgence in eccentricity has morphed into a most perverse form of political correctness. You see, the three-year olds of Britannia have been revealed as racists and the state is out to wipe their minds clean of all invidious disctinctions.

Read it and weep for the children (because noting differences isn't bad, it's teaching people to be all righteous about them that is evil.)
They may still be in nappies and playing with sand and building blocks but many toddlers are already racists, nurseries have been warned.

To stop prejudice from developing while children are still three years old, staff need to ensure that different racial groups "play together right from day one", according to Herman Ouseley, the former chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality.

Nursery staff should "discourage separate play" and "help children to unlearn any racist attitudes and behaviour they may have already learnt", said Lord Ouseley.

"It is important to consider whether patterns of play are consistently based on racial or cultural grounds," he writes in the latest issue of the journal Race Equality Teaching.
Jane Lane, a co-author of the article and an early-years equality adviser whose publications are recommended by the Government's Sure Start scheme, said conventional wisdom that toddlers were "colour blind" was wrong.

"There is a view that children do not learn their attitudes until they are about five," she said. "But people in the early years know that children at a very early age - at the age of three - are categorising people. I am not talking about white children; I am talking about all children. Many, many are racially prejudiced, for all sorts of historical reasons."

Margaret Morrissey, the spokesman for the National Confederation of Parent Teachers Associations, said, however, that children did not generally notice colour until at least the age of six and that "artificial" attempts to force the issue could be detrimental.

"In all the time I have been involved in nursery education, since about 1975, I have never seen children segregating to play," she said.


terrye said...


When I was three years old and my father was in the hospital, I looked up at his nurse one day and announced [to my mother's profound embarassment] "You're a nigger aren't you?" So it seems to me that it goes without saying that conditioning of one kind or another begins at an early age anyway.

Eric said...

Oh my. Well, childern do learn things fast.

What will be interesting from this is when the kids go home and parrot back to the parents what they've been learning in day-care.

Knucklehead said...

Children will certainly learn the words used in their immediate little worlds. And just as certainly they will pick up on the fears, anxieties, interests, and so on around them; they will notice and file in their sponge-like little brains what makes the people around them tick - what animates those around them and makes them anxious or fearful, angry, happy, mirthful, or otherwise excited.

Personally I believe we make child-rearing far too complicated. There are only a small number of big rules that we adults should recognize when it comes to children.

- they are human beings. They are not empty canvases for we adults to splat paint upon. They are not molding clay for us to shape to our whims. They are not toys to be played with in games of our own petty devising. They are not precious little pieces of irreplaceable crystal to be viewed but not touched or used lest they be broken. We must allow them to be people because they are nothing more, or less, than that. Treat them too much as anything other than people and the result will often be soemthing very similar to that which you most wanted to avoid. People are "moldable" but only imperfectly so. Don't mold, raise.

- If you don't allow them to "help" when it is bothersome to do so they will not help not "help" later when they are far more capable. "I'd love to let you help, Darlin', but I need to get this done" will lead to nothing but consternation when the time comes when you can say, "I need to get this done, Darlin', and you can help." If you wish a child to learn to be helpful and useful you must allow them to learn to be so.

- there is a world of difference between "trouble" and "aggravation". Strive to learn the difference as it applies to children. Children yield copious amounts of aggravation but it is trouble that will break your heart. It is the troubles you wish to avoid. The aggravations are unavoidable and one must learn to recognize one from the other.

- it is, or should be, the goal of all humans to learn to make - at the least - adequated judgements of the world around us. Discernment and discrimination are not "dirty" words. The key ingredients to developing adequate judgement skills are guidance, experience (that thing we never have until just after we needed it), and retrospection. We adults must offer guidance, allow for the accumulation of experience, and encourage retrospection.

- when you need help, get help.

- last, but not least, one must remember who is the adult and who the child and behave accordingly.

Each of those were advice given to me by wise men (yes, in each and every case it was a man who tugged upon my coat and told me about one or more of these "big rules"). It took me many years to learn them and bring them, as imperfectly as I have, into my actions.

In every case of a "troubled child" that I am aware of with sufficient intimacey one or more of those big rules was never learned by the adults involved.

Sorry to preach - especially to the choir - but there it is.

Morgan said...

Here's my simple model of group relations, feel free to kick the tires:

There are identifiable "cultural" subgroups in most societies, these groups behave differently (on average), and people note that salient characteristics (like age, skin color, accent, dress, and maybe political viewpoints) are associated with these different behaviors.

Because the behaviors of other cultures are more likely to violate our norms of "correct" behavior, we are more likely to dislike people of other groups. In addition, we are likely to use those salient characteristics as predictors of those behaviors we dislike.

We are flexible enough to further divide the world based on context and other salient features - our expectations of teenagers may be negative, unless they are members of the History Club - experience has told us they're a fine bunch of bright, thoughtful kids (yes, prejudice works both ways). But until we learn the kid is a History Club member, we will tend to group him or her with "those lousy teenagers", and presumptively ascribe the characteristics we expect of the class as a whole.

Once we get to know someone well, he or she becomes a class of one, and our direct impressions and experience drive our expectations of that person's behavior, not more general salient characteristics.

I think that today most group-ism is the result of this kind of presumptive assignment of hidden characteristics on the basis of salient characteristics that have been shown (by our experience) to have predictive value. I have never witnessed "they are all like this"-type inculcation. Ever.

The upshot is that forcing children to play together is unlikely to result in harmony, unless they all play by the same rules (not just formal, but informal rules as well).

But I doubt that even that will innoculate kids against future prejudices. The future context will be different, and the distinction will be drawn if it is there. That suggests that the way to reduce prejudice is for everyone to share more-or-less the same values and notions about appropriate behavior. Homogeneity as the enemy of prejudice.

I believe, though, that if all the kids played by the same rules, there would be no need to force them to play together. Playtime segregation probably results from experience.

MeaninglessHotAir said...

It is so hard to achieve the pure world.

terrye said...


I would go so far as to say it is impossible.

truepeers said...

Good advice Knucklehead. Morgan throws in one further key, however: the history club. If only my school had had a history club... I would have had a home:)