School of Social and Political Science

Who Defines Childhood Innocence? Anti-Racist Practice, White Fragility and Effective Allyship in Early Childhood Webinar

Online event
10 May 2021
13:00 - 14:30




‘Talking about race just puts ideas in children’s heads’.

‘We should not discuss race with young children because they are too young.’

‘I treat everyone the same.’‘Discussing race with young children further enhances the divisions in society. They will learn to be mistrustful, not get along with people and see problems where there aren’t any.’

Despite a wealth of evidence that shows that young children experience direct and indirect racism and discrimination (Kustatscher, 2016; Konstantoni and Emejulu 2017; Konstantoni 2013), there is a persistent myth that children are ‘innocent’. The early childhood sector faces limitations and challenges in effectively promoting anti-racist education. This session rests upon the uncomfortable truth that racism is normal, it is pervasive. It is in society and it is in our settings, it is in the everyday! This platform will provide opportunities to engage in some critical discussions about racism and whiteness. As early years practitioners, researchers, parents/carers, policy makers and community activists, it is important to develop a shared language around racial literacy so that you, as facilitators of children’s learning and as change agents, can name it, understand it and seek to change practice with children, families and their communities. The session will provide an opportunity to engage in critical discussions, ask questions and share good practice in recognising and developing effective allyship, leading to tangible actions. 

Presenters and facilitators of the event

The Anti-racist Early Years Collective (AREYC): A group of academics, researchers, practitioners, teachers and community activists working towards promoting anti-racist education across the early years sector.

Co-Founders and Co-Directors of the Anti-Racist Early Years Collective: Pavithra Atul Sarma, Khadija Mohammed, Caroline Wagstaff, Kristina Konstantoni and Cara Blaisdell.

For more information email us:

The webinar will be co-chaired by Dr Kaveri Qureshi, Lecturer at the Department of Social Policy at the School of Social and Political Science and RACE.ED member, and Dr Marlies Kustatscher, Lecturer in Childhood Studies at the Moray House School of Education and Sport and Deputy Director of the Centre for Education for Racial Equality in Scotland (CERES).

Key speakers

  • Pavithra Atul Sarma
  • Khadija Mohammed, University of the West of Scotland
  • Caroline Wagstaff, Primary School Teacher
  • Dr Kristina Konstantoni, Moray House School of Education and Sport, RACE.ED
  • Dr Caralyn Blaisdell, Queen Margaret University