By Rosa Prince, Political Correspondent
Last Updated: 9:29AM BST 08/07/2008 | Comments 120 | Have Your Say
Toddlers who turn their noses up at spicy food from overseas could be
branded racists by a Government-sponsore d agency.
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.
This could include a child of as young as three who says “yuk” in
response to being served unfamiliar foreign food.
The guidance by the NCB is designed to draw attention to
potentially- racist attitudes in youngsters from a young age.
It alerts playgroup leaders that even babies can not be ignored in the
drive to root out prejudice as they can “recognise different people in
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
Warning that failing to pick children up on their racist attitudes could
instil prejudice, the NCB adds that if children “reveal negative
attitudes, the lack of censure may indicate to the child that there is
nothing unacceptable about such attitudes”.
Nurseries are encouraged to report as many incidents as possible to
their local council. The guide added: “Some people think that if a large
number of racist incidents are reported, this will reflect badly on the
institution. In fact, the opposite is the case.”