The Arizona Department of Education has released an “equity toolkit” to expose and quell racism among children as young as 3 months of age. The toolkit, provided to teachers and parents, uses critical race theory (CRT) to show how white babies “remain strongly biased in favor of whiteness” by age five.
The education department’s website seeks “School Improvement” via “equity and diversity,” offering many tools and resources to help our youngest learners break this perceived pattern of racism. According to the website, the goal is to continue a “commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion given current events that highlight persistent racial biases in our society.”
Among the resources is an infographic titled “They’re not too young to talk about race!” This “tool” implies that babies are born with inherent racism and parents must actively keep their infants from drawing “their own conclusions based on what they see,” adding that a parent’s “silence about race reinforces racism” in their children.
Among the studies cited to make the case that babies are racist is a 2008 study titled “The development of implicit intergroup cognition,” which establishes that “intergroup preferences are present at adultlike [sic] levels in early childhood.” In other words, a white baby attends to a white face more so than to a face of another race. By the same token, however, this phenomenon is found in every race, making the connection between this “preference” and racism suspect at best. Babies, as part of their survival instincts, learn to identify the faces of caregivers. Creating a correlation between this and racism is inflammatory and questionable.
An ardent opponent of critical race theory, Christopher Rufo, took to Twitter to post some resources from Arizona’s “toolkit.” The conservative author followed up with an update stating that the AZ Department of Education is conducting an internal investigation into their “babies are racist” teaching materials. Rufo tweeted that this investigation was not enough and encouraged Arizona Governor Doug Ducey to conduct an external audit.