Ask ARP: Are we teaching the history of slavery too early?

Dear Anti-Racist Parent,

I am a white parent and have two sons (ages 6 and 8). I am committed to doing all I can to raise them in an anti-racist environment. Education is critical to this goal.

However, I have been disturbed by how both of my son’s pre-school teachers began teaching the history of slavery when they were very young (3 years old). I believe this is too large and important a topic to be condensed down to a few soundbites during Black History Month.

It also raises a disturbing question: as we teach the children that we are all equal, can a 3 year old process the information that African Americans were once oppressed? I fear that the potential for a misunderstood message is very high here, and that it plants the idea in their heads that discrimination once was acceptable.

Can’t we wait until the children are more able to cognitively process the concepts correctly? I’m interested to know if any educators have researched this, or if any other parents have asked pre-school teachers about this issue.

From KS in Illinois

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