Toddlers should be taught about racism and singled out for criticism if they have racist attitudes, a Government-funded advisory group said yesterday.The assertion that it reflects well on an institution to report large numbers of "racist incidents" implies that those institutions which report few or no such incidents are covering something up. The people who drafted this advice must actually believe that "racism" is almost endemic among the tiny tots.
It told nursery teachers, playgroup leaders and childminders to record and report every racist incident involving children as young as three.
These could include saying 'Yuk' about unfamiliar food.
Even babies should not be ignored in the hunt for racism because they can 'recognise different people in their lives', a new guide for nurseries and child care centres said.
The instructions for staff in charge of pre-school children in day care have been produced by the National Children's Bureau, which receives £12million a year, mostly through taxpayer-funded organisations.
The new 366-page guide, Young Children and Racial Justice, warned that 'racist incidents among children in early years settings-tend to be around name-calling-casual thoughtless comments, and peer group relationships'.
It said such incidents could include children using words like 'blackie', 'Pakis', 'those people' or 'they smell'.
Children might also 'react negatively to a culinary tradition other than their own by saying "yuk".'
Nursery staff are told: 'No racist incident should be ignored. When there is a clear racist intent, it is necessary to be specific in condemning the action.'
If children 'reveal negative attitudes the lack of censure may indicate to the child that there is nothing unacceptable about such attitudes'.
Nurseries are encouraged to report as many racist incidents as possible to local councils.
'Some people think that if a large number of racist incidents are reported, this will reflect badly on the institution,' it said. 'In fact, the opposite is the case.'
The guidance said that anyone who disagrees is racist themselves.Well, that attitude is pretty much par for the course with these "anti-racist" types. They're so tolerant and good, you see, that anyone who doesn't share their views must, by definition, be pure evil!
Possibly. More pertinently, English is also the native and majority language of the UK, and you probably won't get very far in Britain without being able to speak at least passable English (John Prescott being an obvious exception to this rule). That is why it's considered important that children learn English: astonishingly enough, it's not all about perpetuating post-colonial power structures, or anything like that.
It also suggests cultivating the home languages of new immigrants - despite Government anxiety to promote the learning of English.It said: 'English is now viewed as the major language of the world but this is not because it has any innate linguistic advantages - it is because English is the language of power in a world dominated by English-speaking peoples.'
Critics of the race programme for pre- school children labelled it 'totalitarian'.
They would say that - they are, by definition, "racist".
Well, if you look at the past record of the "anti-racist" movement, and particularly its lengthy record of witch hunts against those who have displeased it (including schoolchildren), then this latest proposal appears, if not predictable, then at least in keeping with its noble traditions.
Author and researcher on family life Patricia Morgan said: 'Stepping in to stop severe bullying is one thing, but this is interference in the lives of children. It smacks of totalitarianism.
'It is regulation of private speech and thought. They intend nursery staff to step into children's playground squabbles and then report them to the local council as race incidents. Who would ever have thought that the anti-racism crusade would go so far?'
The very notion that babies or toddlers are capable of being "racist" in any meaningful sense is, I think, ridiculous. I find it very unlikely that children that young are actually able to develop ingrained negative generalisations about groups of people, and suspect that if nursery staff follow this advice too closely, then we may well see large numbers of children being labelled as dangerous racists, for utterly trivial instances of misbehaviour. Certainly, the notion that one can identify actual or prospective racists by their culinary habits is too deranged for words. Still, it does have one benefit: in common with pretty much anyone who dares to express any negative views regarding immigration, multiculturalism, or Islam, I have on occasion been accused of "racism". However, since I like curry, I can now prove, beyond all reasonable doubt, that I am not guilty of the charge!