If there is one book I think every transracial adoptive parent must read, it’s this one. Especially for folks who believe that children don’t notice race, or that we live in a world that is "colorblind." In fact, I think I would recommend this book for EVERY parent, everyone who cares about being anti-racist, whether you are raising kids of your own race, culture and ethnicity or not.
The First R: How Children Learn Race and Racism by Debra Van Ausdale and Joe Feagan is stunning in its findings – that children as young as 3 years old, even when attending a pre-school that has a strong anti-bias curriculum, and even with parents who support and promote "diversity" in their homes – use racism and racist behavior and language in sophisticated and complex ways, despite the adamant protests from adults that these children are incapable of such behavior or thought. And that children of color know and understand that there is an unequal hierarchy in society, even with nobody "telling them."
The first few chapters are pretty academic but they outline the traditional White, western-based (and developed by white men) theories around child development, but the chapters that follow are compelling and very easy to read and understand. I have so many underlined and highlighted passages that it might as well be just all yellow highlights.
I’ll follow up with more thoughts in a future post, but I just had to recommend this book. I think ALL parents should read it, but especially if you are white and you are parenting a child of color.