This week’s resources provide insights on how to effectively address diversity issues related to race and gender differences. As you have learned, children’s attitudes and beliefs about race and gender directly affect how they feel about themselves and how they treat others. Helping children develop a healthy sense of self without feeling superior to others is a crucial aspect of the work you do with children.
For this assignment, develop an action plan to help young children feel good about their racial/gender identities while supporting the development of positive behaviors and attitudes about those who are different.
To begin, print and review the “Creating an Anti-Bias Learning Community: Diversity of Race and Gender” form. As noted in earlier weeks of the course, consider how you would build help children get to know themselves better, build respect for others, and combat stereotypes and prejudices that arise in the setting in which you work with young children and their families through the four aspects of creating an anti-bias learning community:
- Positive interactions with children
- Positive relationships with and among families
- The visual and material environment
- Curriculum planning
Next, read through the statements below that reflect children’s misconceptions about race or gender differences and may signify the beginnings of internalized privilege or internalized oppression. Select one statement (either race or gender-related) to be the focus of your analysis.
- “Am I red, teacher? That girl said I’m a Red Indian. Why did she say that I’m not red!!” (Boy, 6)
- “I don’t like dark people – dark people are bad guys!” (Girl, 3)
- “People with slanty eyes are scary. I’m glad I don’t have slanty eyes.” (Girl, 5)
- To a boy wearing boots with a flower pattern: “Tommy is a girl! Tommy is a girl!” (boys, 5)
- “Rosie is big and ugly! She looks like a boy!” (Girl, 3½)
- “Only boys can play with the big trucks!” (Boy, 3 )
Now, consider how you could use the statement you chose to proactively challenge stereotyping and address the diversity issue(s) in order to help children in the process of learning to honor and respect race or gender differences.
Using the “Creating an Anti-Bias Learning Community: Diversity of Race and Gender” form, record the child’s statement you selected in the upper right-hand box. Then, for each of the four anti-bias learning community elements listed on the left side of the form, develop at least two action items that will address the misconceptions or biases indicated in the child’s statement.