School for Social Work
Racism in textbooks, Multicultural education, Racism, Textbooks
This study was undertaken to examine racial bias and prejudice in current second grade textbooks. Second graders are generally 7-8 years old; an age during which morals and values are developed and racist ideations can be either challenged or solidified. Using the standards of multicultural education as an ideal, textbooks aimed at this population were examined to explore the extent to which racism continues to be reified. The three most widely adopted second grade textbooks in America were assessed in the ways they depict African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, and White Americans. Using a method of content analysis adapted from previous studies, five modes of analysis were used: picture analysis, people-to-study analysis, language analysis, storyline analysis, and miscellaneous analysis. The major findings indicated persistent patterns and various types of racial bias present within all three textbooks. The American historical narrative consistently defaulted to a storyline focused on White America and taught through the lens of White Americans. When other racial groups were discussed, they were described as they were perceived by and/or related to White Americans; they were rarely integrated as a part of the larger narrative. This narrow view of history fostered frequent instances of racial bias and prejudice throughout the texts. By identifying the nature of racism in these textbooks, adjustments can be sought for future textbooks so that racist ideals might be confronted rather than maintained.
Fesperman, Mary G., "What we teach our children : a content analysis of racism in second grade textbooks" (2013). Masters Thesis, Smith College, Northampton, MA.