Culture

WaPo Explains How to Ensure Your Toddler Is Sufficiently Woke—in Case You Were Wondering

Vanessa Carr, right, and Blazen Haven singalong with children 'The Hokey Pokey,' during Drag Queen Story Time at the Alvar Library in New Orleans on Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. (Scott Threlkeld/The Advocate via AP)

Because shoving racial narratives down our children’s throats the minute public schools get their hands on them isn’t enough, The Washington Post wants you to know your toddlers can be appropriately woke before they go to kindergarten. An entire industry is emerging to tutor your children in social justice religion before they can talk. Books, tools, and even online programs will make sure your little cherubs know precisely where they fit in the intersectional pyramid and introduce them to the concept of gender at the same time they figure out that mom and dad are different.

The authors of the WaPo article seem to think that parents are wondering when to talk to their children about social justice. The good news is that “experts,” in theories with no underlying data to support them, have all kinds of tools for you. According to the article, there is a music program that confuses them about gender and drag queen story hour is now going to be a television show. Consider yourself warned.

The truly stunning part of this article is there is not a single mention of any objections to these types of ideas. According to the article, exposing young children to the adult complexities of gender ideology and the neo-racist ideas of Ibram X. Kendi is a universal good. Watching a man with a beard in a sequined dress read books on television will automatically make them better people in the authors’ minds. In truth, it would be terribly confusing.

To emphasize the point, they quote a Toronto-based television writer, Nicole Stamp—clearly an expert in writing television shows and a self-appointed educator: “Teaching children to have an equity mindset and strive for justice is giving them a crucial skill that will help them through life.”

Loosely translated, she wants to create little communists with her curated boxes of toys, books, and curricula that teach children as young as two to “dismantle bias.” At two, children can’t even understand the concept of sharing. A fundamental aim at that age is potty training, not anti-racist drivel. Toddlers are gloriously selfish little creatures concerned chiefly with their comfort and needs. Anyone who has ever raised one knows this. The goal is teaching them basic manners, to restrain their basest instincts, and that behavior has consequences.

Stamp seems to be under the impression that diversity is not present in children’s programming. From Sesame Street to Nickelodeon, nothing could be further from the truth. Two psychology professors from Skidmore want you to know that children develop implicit bias as early as three months of age, and by four, they categorize and develop stereotypes. Newsflash: sorting and making assumptions are how children make order out of chaos. The constructs they put the world in also shift with more experience.

Implicit bias predicts nothing, even though training people about it is a multi-million-dollar industry. It is not even clear how you would test that in a child who is so young that lifting his head and chest off the floor is a big deal. Children have a bias for people they know and are just beginning to recognize them from a distance. A recent study of over 80,000 adults found:

Researchers from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, Harvard, and the University of Virginia examined 499 studies over 20 years involving 80,859 participants that used the IAT and other, similar measures. They discovered two things: One is that the correlation between implicit bias and discriminatory behavior appears weaker than previously thought. They also conclude that there is very little evidence that changes in implicit bias have anything to do with changes in a person’s behavior. These findings, they write, “produce a challenge for this area of research.”

Yet, the “experts” interviewed by the Post want you to address implicit bias in toddlers. There are flashcards and games to help children “engage with race throughout their lives.” Critical race theory is already causing problems among adults who question its effects on older children. The idea that we need to begin teaching these concepts to toddlers is pure insanity.

How about we teach them colors, letters, and numbers, then ensure they know that every life is precious and we don’t judge people by the way they look? And relegate drag queen story hour to the dustbin of history and stop exposing children to sexualized behavior? At some point, your toddler will make you want to melt into the floor with their observations made in public with their outside voice. Those are legitimate teachable moments parents should take advantage of, rather than inundating them with the intersectional theory that places them into a box based on the most uninteresting thing about them—the color of their skin.