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WaPo Article: 3-Month-Olds Have Implicit Bias; Train Those Toddlers About ‘Social Justice’

WaPo Article: 3-Month-Olds Have Implicit Bias; Train Those Toddlers About ‘Social Justice’

The Washington Post recently published an article quoting various authors, psychology professors and people who work with children suggesting that extremely young children should be taught about “social justice” and arguing that children as young as three months old are plagued by “implicit bias.”

The article starts by asserting, “In the era of Black Lives Matter and #MeToo, many parents are wondering when the right time is to talk to their children about social justice. Experts say it’s never too early, and a new wave of tools and resources can help start the conversation. You can enroll in a music class (virtually now) that develops understanding of gender and personhood. A drag queen story time will soon be a television show. And there are more and more children’s books that discuss intersectionality and broaden representation, plus flashcards and short videos that teach parent and toddler about anti-racism ideas.”Then the piece buttresses the argument that young children should be targeted with training to make them more aware of social justice. Psychology professors Leigh Wilton and Jessica Sullivan of Skidmore College argue that children can develop implicit bias at the age of three months. Sullivan states, “Parents often report discussing topics, like death, with children when it comes up. Perhaps the trick, then, is to be intentional about noticing when and how race comes up in daily life, and using those moments as opportunities for discussion.”

Wilton echoed, “When you think about reading, you don’t say a child at 2 years old can’t read, so let’s not read to them or teach them to recognize letters. We begin building those foundational concepts early. Adults can help even the youngest of children begin to develop the social, emotional, and cognitive skills that will enable them to engage with race throughout their lives.”

Shauna Tominey, an assistant professor at Oregon State University, asserts: “From the very beginning, children look to the adults in their lives for cues as to how to respond to others, how to interpret what they see and hear, how to respond to people they meet or learn about. Even before young children can engage in conversations, they engage in ‘social referencing’ to figure out how to respond.”Nicole Stamp, founder of ByUs box, which the Post describes as “a curated box of toys, books and curricula that aims to dismantle bias for kids as young as 2 years old,” states: “Teaching children to have an equity mind-set and strive for justice is giving them a crucial skill that will help them through life. … Some children don’t usually get to see kids like themselves reflected in the media, Positive representation validates them. … widening the lens to not just include but equally center other identities teaches an accurate and important lesson about what the world actually looks like.”

The article’s author, Natalie Jesionka, writes approvingly:

Not Quite Narwhal” “All are Welcome” and “The Family Book” are some of the books celebrated by Canadian drag performance duo Fay and Fluffy, embraced by kids for their sparkly dresses, candy-colored wigs and zany children’s storybook readings.

The Post also highlights Kaleb Robertson and JP Kane, who “have been offering free drag story time in Toronto since 2016.” Robertson explains, “We want kids to have the tools and knowledge to accept all members of their community and celebrate their differences. So if they see someone with a beard wearing a dress, they are coming from a place of acceptance and understanding.”

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