Letters extra: Children learn their racial attitudes

29th June 2001 at 01:00

Allegations of racial segregation in church schools and polarisation in terms of Asian and white pupils in schools generally have been made about Oldham. Whatever the reason for this situation racism is surely a factor.

People are not born with the racist attitudes and behaviour that are part and parcel of the whole gamut of racism - such attitudes are learnt. Research shows that children usually learn their racial attitudes long before they go to school, often when they are as young as three.

Tackling racism must therefore include taking positive action to give all children the chance to consider their racial attitudes and behaviour at the earliest age, whether they are living in segregated areas or not.

The Report of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry stressed the need for sustained action to be taken in the preschool years. It is vital that everyone involved with children, including their families, take every opportunity to enable them to learn positive attitudes to differences between people and to unlearn any racist attitudes and behaviour that they have already learnt before negative attitudes become entrenched.nbsp;

Most people working in the early years understand and accept this strategy. What we need now is greater recognition and support from the wider community in addressing this critical issue.

Jane Lane
Coordinator Early Years Trainers Anti Racist Network

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today