Children are not racial categories

This article explores the limitations of the US census racial categories, and advises teachers of young children to encourage children and families to tell them their racial identity. It focuses on children and families that do not neatly fit into the federal racial categories: mixed-race families and children; adoptive families and children, and new immigrant families and their children.


Many children in our schools and early childhood programs do not neatly fit into the U.S. OMB racial categories. Thus it is very important that teachers and others working with young children and their families do not impose their racial views on these children and families, but rather encourage them to tell the teachers and school the identity they use and prefer. Teachers and schools must be very sensitive to the child's and families' racial identity choices.

This publication has been peer reviewed.
Publication Type: 
Journal Article
Francis Wardle
Year of Publication: 
Journal, Book, Magazine or Other Publication Title: 
Young Children
National Association for the Education of Young Children
Date Published: 
Monday, May 1, 2017
Place Published: 
Washington, DC
Publication Language: 
ISSN Number: 
Boyer's Domain: 



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