Disrupting the bias within us

Jun 15, 2022

Disrupting the bias within us
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What should we say when a young child expresses or experiences racial bias? Maybe it’s when a child makes a comment about somebody’s skin color being ‘too dark’ or how they don’t want to play with a child of a different race. Or maybe it’s when a child has experienced racial bullying or some other kind of racialized incident in the classroom. As adults, we may find ourselves reacting or freezing up in these moments. A healthier response is to prepare what early childhood education professor and scholar Dr. Rosemarie Allen calls “a treasure chest” of ready responses for disrupting racial bias in the moment. 

 Early Risers Season 3 Episode 2 Discussion Guide

Guest: Dr. Rosemarie Allen

Dr. Rosemarie Allen, guest on Early Risers podcast
Dr. Rosemarie Allen, guest on Early Risers podcast

Dr. Rosemarie Allen is a national leader around racial equity in early childhood. She’s an associate professor in the School of Education at Metropolitan State University of Denver and is founder, president and CEO of the Center for Equity and Excellence, a consulting firm specializing in racial equity and inclusion.

Dr. Allen has authored two children’s books about Black hair, “Stylish and Straight,” and “Cute and Curly.” She wrote these books in part, to provide white teachers with a window into the daily routines and lived experiences of Black children in their classrooms.

Here are some other book titles and authors Dr. Allen recommends:

How to Be an Antiracist by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi. Dr. Allen describes this book as a must- read for all educators.

Waking up White by Debby Irving – a chronicle of a white educator’s equity journey.

The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family by Ibtihaj Muhammad – a children’s book about a Muslim girl’s pride in wearing her hijab and how she responds to bullies at school.

Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry – a children’s book that celebrates the beauty of Black hair and a father’s love for his daughter.

Spare the Kids by Dr. Stacey Patton – a book for adults that unpacks the harm of using corporeal punishment as a means of disciplining Black children. Dr. Allen also recommends Dr. Patton’s workshop on decolonizing Black parenting.

Dr. Allen participated in a virtual panel discussion, “Teaching Anti-Racism: Making Sense of Race and Racism for Young Children” hosted by Minnesota Public Radio and Early Risers in June 2021.

We also recommend Dr. Allen’s 2016 TEDx talk “School suspensions are an adult behavior,” where she talks about the epidemic of school suspensions in pre-school settings and how children of color are disproportionately impacted.