Children as young as three months old may be racially biased, a major London council has claimed, as parents raise alarm at “activist educators” in the nursery sector.
A poster shared by Islington Council’s under-fives department included diagrams of babies each year through to age six, titled: “Children are never too young to talk about race”.
The poster claims that “at three months, babies look more at faces that match the race of their caregivers”. It then says that “children as young as two years use race to reason about people’s behaviours”, and “by 30 months, most children use race to choose playmates”.
The graphic adds that “expressions of racial prejudice often peak at ages four and five” and that “by five, white children are strongly biased in favour of whiteness, and have learned to associate some groups with higher status than others”.
It was shared on the Islington Early Years Twitter account late last year. It is sourced from a radical US website called the Children’s Community School and cites a series of contested studies, most from before 2010, for each of the six claims about children and race.
Parents have raised alarm at the latest revelation after The Telegraph recently reported how at least four Labour-run councils have drafted in “Maoist” diversity consultants to “decolonise the mindsets” of nursery staff working with toddlers.
Nottingham City Council, the Welsh Government, Islington Council and Early Years Bristol have worked with The Black Nursery Manager, a diversity consultancy which criticised “the violence of whiteness” and claimed the Government is an “agent of white supremacy”.
MPs told The Telegraph the training must be investigated as “the most poisonous and divisive kind of dogma”, prompting the Early Years Alliance to hit back and say critics were “incredibly short-sighted”, while the National Day Nurseries Association said such training “should be encouraged not criticised”.
But campaigners say the angry backlash from the early years bodies shows how entrenched radical race theories have become in nurseries, with many rejecting the “colour-blind” idea of meritocracy because it refuses to focus on differences between races.
Claims ‘cannot be taken at face value’
Hitting out at “activist educators”, parent Adrian Hart, from the campaign group Don’t Divide Us, said: “Fundamentally, many of the studies presented in support of these sorts of ideas about children and race simply conflate acceptance of one group with rejection of another.”
“Children’s choices in relation to things like doll or toy preference, in artificial experimental conditions offer no indication of whether the child takes account of race in every day social interactions,” the author of The Myth of Racist Kids added.
“Parents and educators and policy makers in local and central government alike cannot take claims like these at face value,” he said. “Anything being presented as data in support of a radical reappraisal of our entire approach to anti-racism and integration must be scrutinised by people other than a minority of self appointed ‘race experts’ that typically stand to profit from the very same approaches they advocate for.”
The mandatory curriculum for nursery staff makes no mention of racism or particular races.
The Government’s non-statutory Development Matters guidance is designed to support impartial teaching of diversity, but early years sectors released their own separate version last year which endorsed the contentious idea of “white privilege”.
An Islington Council spokesman said: “As we work to create a more equal Islington, we will keep challenging the subtle and complex ways in which people are held back and opportunities are denied.
“Structural inequalities stop too many people in our borough from reaching their potential, and we will keep challenging inequality so all our children, young people, families and communities can thrive.”