This came up on our timeline recently and, truth is, it really struck a chord.
Why particularly? We'll let co-founder Will explain:
"Last year I became a dad for the first time. Now, raising my young son, this question is particularly pertinent. And my answer to the question, in reality, is "not much". As parents, my wife and I have assumed that if we're not racist, we will raise non-racist children – right? Unfortunately that's not how it works. Racial profiling starts in nursery, so I need to stop avoiding discomfort and start actively educating both myself and my son."
In case you missed it, we posted our initial thoughts via our social channels recently:
We've seen from both the landmark Doll Test from the 1940s, and multiple more recent studies that both white and black (to a lesser extent) children display white bias, identifying pale skin with positive attributes and darker skin with negative attributes.
What is arguably most surprising about the results of these sorts of tests is that children's ideas about race, for the most part, don't evolve as they get older. The typical thoughtfulness of a twelve year old the typical spontaneity of a five year old does not impact their racial prejudice.
So... change needs to start at home and change needs to start with children.
TURNING WORDS INTO TANGIBLE ACTIONS
To simply repost another’s resource or a few links feels passive, performative and insufficient...there are two parts to the action we plan to take.
In schools and libraries across the UK there is a paucity of children’s books with black protagonists, by black authors, on topics related to race or black history. We want there to be more access to resources for children and for parents to have the necessary discussions. Where parents may be failing to have these important discussions we want the resource at schools to hopefully fill in the gaps.
Children’s books are one of the most practical tools for initiating these critical conversations, and can also be used to model what it means to resist and dismantle oppression.
We plan to donate a selection of relevant books to schools and libraries across the UK. We have had shared with us a great list of books for ages 2-16 years but we urge you get in contact if you have a particular book or particular school or library that you think could benefit from the initiative. We are also hoping to roll out a more permanent "Donate-A-Book" scheme via our website. We are still ironing out the details but we wanted to share our plans.
You may also know that since its launch, we've been donating £1 from each sale of our Hand Wash to charity. Month 1 we chose Refuge, a domestic abuse charity, following the deeply concerning increase in domestic violence since lockdown began.
This month we're donating to Save Elephant Foundation, helping captive elephants at risk from the lack of income for their owners, due to the absence of tourism during this time.
Next month, we would like to donate to The Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust. The Trust was founded to tackle inequality in all forms. They work with young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to inspire and enable them to succeed in the career of their choice. They also influence others to create a fairer society in which everyone, regardless of their background, can flourish.