The National Children’s Bureau, which receives £12 million a year, mainly from Government funded organisations, has issued guidance to play leaders and nursery teachers advising them to be alert for racist incidents among youngsters in their care.
The 366-page guide for staff in charge of pre-school children, called Young Children and Racial Justice, warns: “Racist incidents among children in early years settings tend to be around name-calling, casual thoughtless comments and peer group relationships.”
It advises nursery teachers to be on the alert for childish abuse such as: “blackie”, “Pakis”, “those people” or “they smell”.
The guide goes on to warn that children might also “react negatively to a culinary tradition other than their own by saying ‘yuk’”.
Staff are told: “No racist incident should be ignored. When there is a clear racist incident, it is necessary to be specific in condemning the action.”
Debbie Schlussel scoffs, “If me no likey da spicy food, then I’m a racist.” Which is funny on many levels, most presumably unintentional. But, not to worry, she’s enjoyed “spicy falafel and Plochman’s Spicy Kosciusko Mustard” since childhood, clearly proving she’s no racist.
Jonah Goldberg wonders if his own daughter is now a racist, given her occasional aversion to salsa.
Jimmie @ Sundries Shack has the most intentionally-funny reaction:
According to the guide, you should condemn your child directly and specifically. I suggest such phrases as: “You will eat that tortilla or no white hood for a month!” or “Mommy is sad because you hate Pakistanis”.
It’s never too early to be programming your child to meekly accept everything an authority figure tells them to do. One day they will be adults and they’ll need that skill.
Van Helsing (which, I’m guessing, is a pseudonym) observes, “Monte Python in its prime would have been at a loss to outdo the self-parody into which Britain’s totalitarian political correctness has descended.”
I tend to share the consensus reaction that this is an absurd proposal. It should be noted, however, that the NCB is merely an activist group, not an arm of the British government, and that the Telegraph has a reputation for sensationalism. The extent to which this book should be taken seriously is far from clear. Unfortunately, all the news accounts I’ve been able to locate on it thus far have been regurgitations of the same wire report.
NCB is distancing itself from the more outlandish aspects of the book:
NCB operates as a publishing house for specialist publications on issues affecting the lives of children, young people and their families. Where NCB believes there are very important messages to be communicated, debated and addressed by the sector, it will publish on the basis of book sale income covering costs of production.
They also emphasize:
The book is being funded from book sales alone — and not from government funding or from any grants, as has been reported. The sales have been excellent so far which goes to show there is an acknowledged need for books like it.
Or that it’s outlandish and controversial.
UPDATE: Bruce McQuain identifies, as I neglected to, the real outrage here: defining racism down. If saying “Yuk” to food that doesn’t suit one’s palette qualifies, then the concept loses all meaning.