OPINION: Why we need a proactively anti-racist scientific method – The Hechinger Report – DC Initiative on Racial Equity
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As researchers of early childhood development, we focus on generating science that improves outcomes for children of all backgrounds. The Covid-19 pandemic and the nationwide movement for racial justice have only made this work more urgent. Closing opportunity gaps for Black children and other children of color begins with expanding all families’ access to high-quality learning environments, in preschools and beyond.

We can’t achieve this goal without understanding how race and racism influence the communities we study and our own research methods. The early childhood development field, like many others, is striving to embrace research that dismantles racial inequities. To do so, our foundational techniques need to evolve — and that means embracing anti-racist scientific methods.

Anti-racist methods, in general, actively call out the role racism plays in creating and perpetuating inequities, rather than examining racial differences alone. Instead of defining people by the problems they face, these approaches take different groups’ resilience into account, valuing communities for the unique perspectives and strengths they bring to the table that can be built upon in early care and education environments.

By contrast, the classical scientific method as we know it purports to be race-neutral. Colorblindness was in vogue for years as a way to avoid the


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