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There are two types of parents in this day and age. The first type claims their children are color blind and have never noticed anything like race. Then there is the other type of parent that grills their child on how not to be a raging racist because the child has mentioned something about an individuals skin color in a somewhat negative way. Both of these approaches are wrong.
Your child does see race.
I am sure as a parent your small child has made a comment before on the playground, or in some public setting about an individuals skin color that has made you want to sink in the floor with embarrassment. You instantly start wondering if your small child has been hearing a family member saying something about race or if they have seen it on TV. The young children of today are supposed to be the color blind, all-inclusive generation of the future right? Wrong. They do see race. They are curious about it, small children simply want to learn about it. The much smaller children even show signs of wanting to be with those of their own race. Why is this? The answer is not the racism we see on the streets on the national news. The answer is actually much more innocent because quite frankly children are much more innocent.
Toddlers, Accents, Race
One study was done showing toddlers an image of a woman who was the same race as them, and another woman who was of another race. In the study they found that around sixty percent of toddlers would spend most of their time focused on the woman of the same race as them. The same outcome occurred when the small children were shown a video of two women. One spoke English and the other spoke the same language, just with an accent. The majority of the children focused primarily on the none accent speaking adult.
What does this mean?
No your child is not a raging racist. The answer is actually quite simple. Humans feel most comfortable with something that is familiar to them. Small children are new to the world, they have not seen much of it. They like what is familiar, it makes them feel more comfortable. They do not make the choice based off of hate, rather just simply off of what they are used to being around at home. When children that were older were asked the tough race questions around the age of six or seven. A large majority said they do not mind that some of their friends have a different skin color.
What can you do as a parent?
Don't shy away when your child asks about skin color. Don't hush them. Definitely don't think your child is a future racist. They are just simply curious and don't understand that some of their questions could be seen as offensive. They are new to the world. Your job as a parent is to teach them in a safe environment. Simply explain to them why all people are different. Make it a important point that we are all human and can get along just fine. Before long your child will understand like we all eventually do and he or she will be on the playground playing with all the kids without any second thought.
Important announcement. For those of you who do not know, Norway is one of the biggest celebrators of Christmas. They even provide Britain with an honorary Christmas tree as thanks for their help in World War 2. I will be attempting to go to Norway this Christmas and see how they celebrate. If I am successful I will take many personal photos and write about Christmas in the foreign land. Any tips will greatly help my chances of gathering money to go. Thank you. Hope you read my soon to come article "Christmas in Norway: An American's point of view."