I’ve spent almost two decades teaching in English primary schools, which serve multiracial, multicultural, multifaith communities. I want to explore two things I have noticed.
1) Almost without exception, whenever children are asked to write a story in school, children of colour will write a story featuring white characters with ‘traditional’ English names who speak English as a first language.
2) Teachers do not discuss this phenomenon.
Furthermore, simply pointing these two things out can lead to some angry responses in my experience.
Why are you making an issue of race when children are colourblind?”
is an example of the sort of question that sometimes gets asked.
Well let’s look at that. If children were writing stories where the race of characters was varied and random, there might be some merit in claiming that children are colourblind. However, even proponents of racial colourblindness do not argue that all people are White… and English. They argue that race no longer matters. If that’s true, why are young children of colour and young white children writing exclusively about white characters?