NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


July 9, 2008

Toddlers in the United Kingdom who turn their noses up at spicy food from overseas could be branded racists by a government-sponsored agency, says the London Daily Telegraph.

The National Children's Bureau (NCB), which receives £12 million (about U.S. $23.7 million) a year, mainly from government funded organizations, has issued guidance to play leaders and nursery teachers advising them to be alert for racist incidents among youngsters in their care.

The 366-page guide for staff in charge of pre-school children, called Young Children and Racial Justice, warns:

  • Children might react negatively to a culinary tradition other than their own by saying "yuck."
  • Racist incidents among children in early years' settings tend to be around name-calling, casual thoughtless comments and peer group relationships.
  • Nursery teachers must be on the alert for childish abuse such as: "blackie," "Pakis," "those people" or "they smell".
  • No racist incident should be ignored by teachers -- when there is a clear racist incident, it is necessary to be specific in condemning the action.

Warning that failing to pick children up on their racist attitudes could instill prejudice, the NCB adds that if children reveal negative attitudes, the lack of censure may indicate to the child that there is nothing unacceptable about such attitudes.

Nurseries are encouraged to report as many incidents as possible to their local council.  The guide added: "Some people think that if a large number of racist incidents are reported, this will reflect badly on the institution. In fact, the opposite is the case."

Source: Rosa Prince, "Toddlers Who Dislike Spicy Food 'Racist,'" The Telegraph, July 7, 2008.


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