Thankfully, there are some things you can do to help your child see the world in more than just black and white. Consider discussing with your child how the colorblind see the world, and how they can help them to make their world a brighter place. Lifelong colorblindness is still a rarity, so chances are you will never have to deal with it. But if you do, you have an amazing opportunity to show your child that the world is full of color and life.
You probably didn’t realize you’re raising colorblind children. It’s not your fault. The odds are against it. In fact, you had no control over the situation. In the United States, less than five percent of the population is affected by colorblindness, which, in most cases, is caused by a genetic condition that cannot be passed on from parent to child. (However, there is a congenital colorblind disorder called achromatopsia where the child is born with the condition and it cannot be passed on to offspring.)
One of the first pieces of advice given to parents about raising their children is to talk to them early and often about race and culture. At first, this seems like a great way to help children understand the world; however, children are not colorblind, which means they will notice differences among races and cultures. As young children notice these differences, they may begin to see “good” or “bad” qualities based on a person’s looks.
There is a meme, well not a meme, but a kind of meme. In general, these are children from different ethnic groups who get along well with each other. In general, children are in some sort of physical embrace: Kissing, holding hands, whatever. This image is usually accompanied by a caption, for example. B. Children cannot see the colors where racism is taught. Usually memes like this appear after a controversial, racially charged event. They were popular last summer during the George Floyd debacle. Several of them appeared in the Stop Hate Asia campaign. It’s not hard to see why these memes are so popular.
They are an easy and non-controversial way to start a discussion about equality without offending anyone, but there is a problem. The entries are not true. Message: This is not to say that children are racist or that we need intensive diversity training for children. In fact, this article won’t even try to point out how something can be fixed, but it will try to dispel the misconception that children don’t see race. The dominant idea of these messages is that children are more or less empty and largely unaware of their race until the evils of the world and adulthood creep in. However, extensive research has shown that children are not as color blind as we think:
- By the age of six months, babies recognize racial differences.
- By the age of two, they begin to use the race to think about human behavior.
- By the age of three or four, they are already talking about racial differences and even beginning to internalize prejudice.
- When they are five or two years old, they clearly prefer people of their own race.
- By the age of twelve, children begin to assimilate their established ideas about race.
Coloring and categorizing are literally the first skills children learn. Stereotypes are what they need to do at that age. Evolution made them that way. The problems arise when they begin to absorb negative information about these categories, and in our society such information is unfortunately abundant. Therefore, children’s television programs try to portray characters of different races in a positive light. To adults this may seem like a curio, but to children it is a valuable introduction with additional information for their categories, albeit modelled.
If you had positive experiences with races as a child, you may not agree with this information. But if you really think back to your childhood, you weren’t completely ignorant about race. When you were in third grade, you probably checked a box on a standardized test to put you in one category or another. Even if you wanted to, you couldn’t raise blind children. The advantage of children over adults is that the negative influence of the racial social construct has not yet fully penetrated their worldview….. but it has already begun. Just say it: Children see races, they don’t see it like adults do, but with time they will. How we manage this stage of their development plays an important role in their future. There are no simple or easy answers to this problem.
As a high school teacher, I realize that just when we think kids are ready to talk about race, they already have their own ideas. Their children see their race and also the race of others. Take this information and use it responsibly. This article was originally published on the Indy K-12 website. Photo: @ChrisLewisLLLS , Twitter.Despite what you may have heard, you cannot raise children to be colorblind. Colorblindness is an inability to see color variations. It is not a subject that you can simply choose to avoid, because colorblind children are born with a genetic defect that affects their eyes. Although there are ways to improve colorblindness, it cannot be cured.. Read more about racism in preschool and let us know what you think.