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Combating Colorism in our Programs and our Work

by Francis Wardle
January/February 2022
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Article Link: http://exchangepress.com/article/combating-colorism-in-our-programs-and-our-work/5026368/

Recently, there has been an increased interest in addressing issues of equality and discrimination in the early childhood field. Last year NAEYC produced the document “Advancing Equity in Early Childhood Education” (2019); over the last few issues, Exchange magazine has devoted several articles to this important topic. These documents are critically important because “all children have the right to equitable learning opportunities that enable them to achieve their full potential as engaged learners and valued members of society” (NAEYC, 2019, p 5). All forms of discrimination, bias, harassment, and inequalities reduce this potential.

These documents and articles focus on bias and discrimination, generally framed within the context of personal bias, structural inequalities, and white privilege. Central to these concepts is the notion of racial and ethnic groups—defined as “social identities”—and membership of individuals within groups “that are defined by society, and that have societal advantages and disadvantages attached to them. These identities include gender, economic class, racial and ethnic identity, and so on” (Derman-Sparks & Edwards, 2010, p. xiii).

Thus, in these documents and articles, bias, discrimination, and inequality are discussed in group terms. For example, under “recommendations for everyone” (NAEYC, 2019), No. 4 states “take action when outcomes vary significantly by social ...

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