The Color of Crayons: A Preschooler’s Exploration of Race and Difference

  • N. Dede A. Addy


In this chapter, Addy examines preschoolers’ attempts to understand racialized differences in physical appearance through the sensation of sight. They begin to associate their own flesh with the colors of the world around them, as a precursor to the physical markers that later become associated with race. Drawing from critical race theory and critical discourse analysis, the author examines how Lily, a Chinese-born child adopted by white American parents, experiences a flashpoint in the classroom and a shift in her perception of self. Interpretations are primarily based on observations from a middle-class preschool classroom in which Lily and the author, a black teacher-assistant, were the sole individuals of color in an otherwise all-white classroom.

Related Further Reading

  1. Ahmed, S. (2006). Queer phenomenology: Orientations, objects, others. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Delgado, R. R., & Stefanic, J. (2001). Critical race theory: An introduction. New York, NY: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Fanon, F. (1967). Black skin, White masks. New York, NY: Grove.Google Scholar
  4. Phoenix, A. (2009). De-colonising practices: Negotiating narratives from racialised and gendered experiences of education. Race, Ethnicity & Education, 12(1), 101–114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Seele, C. (2012). Ethnicity and early childhood. International Journal of Early Childhood, 44(3), 307–325.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. Dede A. Addy
    • 1
  1. 1.The School of EducationThe University of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA

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