Morningside Quaker Meeting

Racial Justice Study Group, October 24, 2021

On October 24th at 1pm, the Morningside Racial Justice Study group will be discussing Something Happened in Our Town by Marianne Celano, PhD, Mrietta Collins, PhD, and Ann Hazard, PhD.

Something Happened to Our Town is designed to be read to children ages 4 to 8, and focuses on bias (prejudiced attitudes) and injustice (discriminatory actions) against African Americans. While this book focuses on African Americans the concepts are relevant for all children, including children from other ethnic minority groups and children with multiracial identities. This book provides messages of empowerment and positive community support, which help children to maintain a sense of balance and safety in our imperfect world. The book’s message of acceptance can also be applied to other difference between people that children may encounter. In additional to bias based on race, children may confront stereotypes based on gender, disability, economic class, culture, family type, or other factors.

There are many benefits of beginning to discuss racial bias and injustice with young children of all races and ethnicities:

  1. Children as young as three years of age notice and comment on differences in skin color;
  2. Humans of all ages tend to ascribe positive qualities to the group that they belong to and negative qualities to other groups;
  3. Despite some parents’ attempts to protect their children from frightening media content, children often become aware of incidents of community violence, including police shootings;
  4. Parents who don’t proactively talk about racial issues with their children are inadvertently teaching their children that race is a taboo subject. Parents who want to raise children to accept individuals from diverse cultures need to counter negative attitudes that their children develop from exposure to the negative racial stereotypes that persist in our society