Children and Race was based on research in Bristol and London schools from 1967-70; it was also a textbook of theory and research on racism and education. The book attracted a great deal of attention because it broke new ground in locating the foundations of children's racial attitude development in early childhood, in the UK. Previously, race prejudice had been regarded as an adult issue, of which children were innocently unaware. A more realistic picture emerged from the studies, showing children's growing awareness (from 4-5 years old) of racial differences and stereotypes, learned from home, school and the mass media. Far from the more 'tolerant' society Britain prided itself on being, the children's data suggested a level of negativity towards Black and Asian groups similar to that in the US and elsewhere.
The book argued for genuinely multiracial education, that recognised racial disadvantage as well as cultural differences, and that these issues should be a part of the curriculum, and reflected in schoool materials and the selection of school teaching staff. It became widely adopted as a recommended text in Colleges and Institutes of Education, both here and in the U.S. where Sage published an American edition.
Controversial social issues like racism evolve very rapidly, and in 1983, a radically revised edition of Children & Race was published by Ward Lock Educational, to include the latest research findings. The most significant change from the earlier edition was the enhanced identification of the black children with their group and their heritage, particularly in those schools which had consciously adopted mutliracial curricula and recruited Black and Asian teachers.
Sadly, by the late 1980s it became increasingly difficult for researchers to get access to schools to investigate these issues further. A combination of 'political correctness' and the fear of parental disapproval led Education Authorities to reject researchers' applications for permission to conduct studies in school, at the very time that policy needed to be based on sound empirical evidence, and new methods road-tested.
Both editions of the book are now outdated in some ways, and out of print. However they can still be obtained from reputable used book dealers (and Amazon).