Writers since Piaget have questioned when and how children assimilate racist attitudes - or simply become aware of racial differences. This book offers stirring evidence that the answers may be more surprising than we ever imagined. The rich accounts of children's behaviour around race are drawn from Van Ausdale's ethnographies, conducted in several multi-ethnic day-care centres. When she persistently divested herself of any authoritative role, children as young as three years gradually revealed to her a surprising array of racial attitudes, assumptions and behaviours - most of which they normally withhold from parents and adults. The careful ethnographic analysis, conducted over many months, lead the authors to question many long-held assumptions about the nature of race and racial learning in society. The stories of the children are compelling, often endearing and unforgettable. They will change the way parents, teachers and other educators understand the world as seen by children.
Despite the weight of the issues it addresses, this book is anything but heavy going. From the very first page, much of it is engaging. I highly recommend it.--Ann Phoenix, Open University