Coming to terms with culture and racism

Burnett, Bruce M. (2001) Coming to terms with culture and racism. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 2(1), pp. 105-109.

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How the early childhood sector engages with and ultimately addresses notions of racism is clearly contingent upon what educators in the field believe to be its origins and causes. Despite what appears to be a complex and multifaceted set of 'origins and causes', it is surprising to find that most educational institutions tend to position their anti-racist programs somewhere along a single continuum where, at one-extremity, are programs that implicate individuals, while at the other are programs which lay the blame on institutions. The purpose of this short commentary is to outline these two dominant positions and to unpack some of their underlying theoretical baggage. However, another more important goal is to challenge educators into broadening their established understandings of racism and thus allow for non-traditional forms of racism to be included—ie. those which are not exercised in transparent and overt forms. One of the major hurdles appears to be focusing educators' attention on the elusiveness of the actual target of the anti-racist program. The predicament in the early childhood sector is how best to provoke its educators into refusing the apparent 'safety' of established anti-racist programs and encourage them to recognise that the manner in which racism is socially constructed and exercised is both fluid and evolving. Only after the imprecise and blurred make-up of contemporary racism is recognised can educators begin a process where successful aspects of traditional anti-discrimination programs are retained, and new programs developed to target aspects of racism which are centred on culture.

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ID Code: 15760
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: Special issue on race and racism.
Keywords: Racial Discrimination, Othering, Early Childhood Education
DOI: 10.2304/ciec.2001.2.1.2
ISSN: 1463-9491
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > SOCIOLOGY (160800)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > SOCIOLOGY (160800) > Sociology of Education (160809)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2001 Symposium Journals
Copyright Statement: Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Deposited On: 27 Nov 2008 00:00
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2010 13:08

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