THE FiRST R: HOW CHildREN LEARN RACE AND RACiSM

By Sheets, Rosa Hernandez | Multicultural Education, Winter 2003 | Go to article overview

THE FiRST R: HOW CHildREN LEARN RACE AND RACiSM


Sheets, Rosa Hernandez, Multicultural Education


Examining Race, Language, and Culture through the Process of Human Development A critical skill of teachers is the ability to continue their professional development. While there are multiple means, a possible approach may be reading and reflecting on available texts addressing issues of diversity. This review discusses three texts -The First R: How Children Learn Race and Racism (Ausdale & Feagin, 2001), In Other Words: The Science and Psychology of Second-Language Acquisition (Bialystok & Hakuta, 1994), and The Cultural Nature of Human Development (Rogoff, 2003)-you might consider. All three connect elements of diversity with understandings of the ways children learn. The FiRST R: How ChildREN LEARN RACE AND RACISM DEbRA VAN AUSdAlE & JOE R. FEAGiN ROWMAN & LiTTlEfield PubliSHERs, 2001 WWW.ROWMANliTTlEFiEld.COM ISBN 0-8476-8862-3; pb, 231 pqs: $20.00

In their text, The First R: How Children Learn Race and Racism, Debra Van Ausdale and Joe R. Feagin describe how young children (age 3 to 6) are socialized and socialize themselves to "do race." They point out that young children are neither innocent of nor inexperienced in processing racially influenced information in ways that maintain and sustain a White dominant society. Van Ausdale and Feagin found that young children use racial terms, apply racial elements (e.g., skin color, facial features), and act in ways that are, at times, racially hostile and discriminatory. Adults, in these settings, are generally unaware or in denial state regarding these problematic behaviors.

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