Society for Research in Child Development hosted a webinar this week, open for anyone to join, to facilitate a conversation about working towards antiracism in the developmental research community. SRCD is a professional society for the human development field, with a focus on child development. SRCD aims to understand human development in order to improve human well-being. (Wiley) It comes as no surprise that an organization rooted in studying and improving the lives of humans, particularly children, would be one to host this webinar. All in attendance had the opportunity to hear from three scholars about their experiences with racism and journey toward becoming antiracist.
Eleanor Seaton, PhD, began by speaking about the crucial role adults play in children’s learning of race and how at the young age of 3-4 years old they begin to grasp ideas about race. Dr. Seaton turned the conversation to Rebecca White, PhD, MPH and Margaret Caughy, Sc.D who shared their journeys on working toward antiracism as White women. A significant personal experience Dr. White shared was how she came to terms with understanding what privilege meant to her. Growing up poor she did not feel like she was privileged; however, she came to understand that socioeconomic status was not comparable to race. While the struggles of poverty affect families deeply, racism exacerbates those struggles even further.
The panelists also discussed how inequalities show up in research and ways in which White researchers could move towards change. Particularly in samples and measures, eurocentrism heavily occurs with an overwhelming amount of standardization of White or Western experience as the normative or default development. The scholars on the panel urge researchers to identify race in their work and to not take a “colorblind” lens. Racial differences matter to outcomes; however, Dr. Seaton also advised that race does not exist exclusively. The intersection of race, gender, age, class, and more all contribute to multiple systems of oppression. In order to create change developmental researchers must take on the duty of unlearning and relearning history, with the goal of being intentional in their work moving forward.
As a part of our team effort to be active learners within our community, a number of our staff attended SRCD’s webinar. Afterward, team members took part in personal conversations and shared their thoughts and reactions in a safe (virtual) space with colleagues. As a community we continue to take steps towards becoming actively antiracist by promoting ways to educate young children about race on our social media, engaging in dialogue with one another, and participating in learning opportunities like this one.
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