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  • Writer's pictureShameer Bismilla

Race Cars

Preschool or primary school children are inquirers by nature. In their whole learning journey, they will observe, gather and study information trying to make sense of what they see and hear. Being curious young children, they will be able to infer implicit biases and unconscious prejudices - such as favoritism and privileging others based on gender, race, and culture. Our guidance is crucial during this impressionable time and we want to avoid children to observe that boys get into trouble more than girls or different shades of skin are accountable for their positive and negative behaviour. The best way to dispel any of these issues, is to create an Anti-Racist Environment. Children need a safe place to support the talk about what they see and notice. Sometimes adults (teachers and parents) need to embrace conversations that may create uncertainty or discomfort. Books are great resources as they are mirrors for them to reflect and windows to be an ally into other people’s experiences. Children deserve the opportunity to ask questions about differences and similarities as they learn from books. As they read they will form categorisation of the world around them. I have chosen this book - Race Cars by Jenny Devenny; it is an apt book for a read aloud session for anyone to begin a dialogue about equity and awareness and it will certainly drive questions on similarities and differences.

I love how Jenny and editor Charnaie Gordon cleverly used the metaphor to explain racial injustice. She used two race cars - one white, one black as a metaphor to explain racial tension between the two colours. Both these cars are friends and enjoy racing against each other. It is a norm for the white to win the annual race. Then the black whose name was Chase won and caused the committee to change the rules to make it harder for cars other than white ones to win. Chase continues to win every year which led to more changes. This pattern continues until one member of the race committee was brave enough to speak out and others join her to protest the rule. The great discussion on how to apply the broader patterns provided by the author is worth reading.


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