I'm Chocolate, You're Vanilla: Raising Healthy Black and Biracial Children in a Race-Conscious World: A Guide for Parents and Teachers

Overview

Myth: Black and biracial children dislike their race from the time they are preschoolers.

Reality: Young black and biracial children are unable to understand racial prejudice. In fact, developmentally they are incapable of understanding the concept of race.

A child's concept of race is quite different from that of an adult. Young children perceive skin color as magical-even changeable'and unlike adults, are incapable of understanding the mature...

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Overview

Myth: Black and biracial children dislike their race from the time they are preschoolers.

Reality: Young black and biracial children are unable to understand racial prejudice. In fact, developmentally they are incapable of understanding the concept of race.

A child's concept of race is quite different from that of an adult. Young children perceive skin color as magical-even changeable'and unlike adults, are incapable of understanding the mature concepts surrounding race and racism. Just as children learn to walk and talk, they likewise come to understand race in a series of predictable stages.

Based on Dr. Marguerite A. Wright's research and clinical experience working as a child psychologist, I'm Chocolate, You're Vanilla teaches us that the color-blindness of early childhood can, and must, be taken advantage of in order to guide the positive development of a child's self-esteem.

I'm Chocolate, You're Vanilla is filled with practical, positive, and creative ideas for handling common situations such as what to do when your child says she wants a white doll; how to deal with relatives and friends who compare your children's skin colors and hair textures; and how to discipline your children so that they can grow up with self respect. Teachers will gain valuable insights about how preconceptions can contribute to a child's success or failure and how to handle discipline problems in the classroom.

Wright answers some fundamental questions about children and race including

  • What do children know and understand about the color of their skin?
  • When do children understand the concept of race?
  • Are there warning signs that a child is being adversely affected by racial prejudice?
  • How can adults avoid instilling in children their own negative perceptions and prejudices?
  • What can parents do to prepare their children to overcome the racism they are likely to encounter?
  • How can schools lessen the impact of racism?

With wisdom and compassion, I'm Chocolate, You're Vanilla spells out how to educate black and biracial children about race, while preserving their innate resilience and optimism-the birthright of all children.

The Definitive Guide to Teaching Black and Biracial Children About Race

I'm Chocolate, You're Vanilla teaches parents and educators of black and biracial children how to reduce racismás impact on a child's development? from preschool through adolescence? and in doing so raise emotionally healthy children.

Paperback copy

[Back cover head] The Definitive Guide to Teaching Black and Biracial Children About Race

I'm Chocolate, You're Vanilla teaches parents and educators of black and biracial children how to reduce racism's impact on a child's development-from preschool through adolescence-and in doing so to raise emotionally healthy children.

"This superb, rational, and highly readable volume answers a deeply felt need. Marguerite Wright handles sensitive issues with consummate clarity, practicality, and hope. Here we have an indispensable guide that will doubtless prove a classic."
—Edward Zigler, Sterling Professor of Psychology and director, Yale University Bush Center in Child Development and Social Policy

"Here at last is an intelligent, well-researched, and provocative, yet also comforting and reassuring book of advice. For parents who are trying to raise emotionally healthy children in a radically polarized world, Marguerite Wright has performed a timely and tremendous public service."
—Clarence E. Page, syndicated columnist, The Chicago Tribune

"This is simply the best book I've ever read on raising or teaching minority children. It's short . . . filled with memorable observations and useful advice."
—Joe Morris, professor and director, School of Psychology, California State University, Northridge

"Finally, a practical and intelligent discussion of a complex issue that is so frequently misunderstood. All those who want to raise healthy children who have a positive sense of themselves can gain valuable lessons from this book."
—Pedro Noguera, professor of education, University of California, Berkeley

"I'm Chocolate, You're Vanilla should be required reading for teachers who want to foster a positive atmosphere of racial relations for their students, teachers, and administrators."—Valerie Rivers, mentor and kindergarten teacher, Palmetto Elementary School, Fontana, CA

Marguerite A. Wright, Ed.D., is the senior clinical and research psychologist for the Center for the Vulnerable Child at Children's Hospital in Oakland, California. Wright lives with her husband and four children in Berkeley, California.

"Just as Jean Piaget's work is a good window into the stages of cognitive development, what Dr. Wright has to say in I'm Chocolate, You're Vanilla is an equally important tool for understanding how the stages of race awareness develop in children."
—Bob Whitlow, principal, Aurora School, Oakland, CA

"...based on the author's research and clinical experience, answering such fundamental questions about children and race ...explains how to educate black and biracial children about race, while preserving their innate resilience & optimism."

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Editorial Reviews

Educational Leadership
This book is useful for all parents who want their children to grow up with healthy attitudes in a world that uses race to separate human beings. . . . A worthwhile read.
Booknews
Shows parents, teachers, and others who work with children how to take advantage of children's concepts of race and skin color at various developmental stages to promote positive development of children's self-esteem. Deals with family situations and classroom discipline problems, and gives practical suggestions for helping children overcome racism and creating a healthy school experience from preschool through high school. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780787952341
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 5/28/2000
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 473,531
  • Product dimensions: 6.04 (w) x 9.11 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

MARGUERITE WRIGHT is the senior clinical and research psychologist for the Center for the Vulnerable Child at Children's Hospital in Oakland, California. Wright lives with her husband and four children in Berkeley, California.

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Table of Contents

THAT MAGICAL PLACE: RACE AWARENESS IN THE PRESCHOOL YEARS.

Chocolate and Vanilla: How Preschoolers See Color and Race.

How Preschoolers Begin to Learn Racial Attitudes.

When to Be Concerned That Race Is a Problem for Preschoolers.

Raising the Racially Healthy Preschooler.

THE WANING OF RACIAL INNOCENCE: THE EARLY SCHOOL YEARS.

Shades of Brown and Black: How Early Grade-Schoolers See Color and Race.

Black Children's Self-Esteem: The Real Deal.

How School Influences Children's Awareness of Color and Race.

REALITY BITES: RACE AWARENESS IN MIDDLE CHILDHOOD AND ADOLESCENCE.

Fading to Black and White: How Children in the Middle Years See Race.

How School Influences Older Children's Ideas About Race.

Preparing for Adolescence: The Lines are Drawn.

A Healthy High School Experience: You Can Make the Difference.

Epilogue.

Appendix: Stages of Race Awareness.

Notes.

About the Author.

Index.

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