|She had been drawing a person with brown skin and the teacher came over and told her not to use that "mud color", and gave her a peach crayon to use instead. The child was Black, which makes it even more offensive... but come to think of it, all the pictures of people I've ever seen created by Waldorf kids have been peach-skinned children, including the ones drawn by the bi-racial former Waldorf student I taught in the bay area.
Wow! I understand that this kind of thing varies school by school, but this isn't the first time I've heard of incidents like this at Waldorf schools, although it *is* the most blatent and harmful to the child. It seems like this would really trouble the good Waldorf schools. Isn't there some sort of accreditation required to use the name "Waldorf"? (I know Montessouri has no such thing, however.) That kind of story gives all Waldorf schools a black eye. As the parent of bi-racial children, that would probably clinch my decision not to send them (if I were considering it, which I'm not), and it further turns me off to the whole idea of Waldorf. It only takes one incident like that to do lots of damage to a child. Even if a school in my area seemed very open to multi-culturalism, I would be worried that there might be some undercurrents in the cirruculum or the environment that could undermine their sense of self. Even people who are trying to understand and respect cultures not their own can come off as patronizing if they aren't careful. I know individual teachers in *any* school can be a problem, but hearing stories like this leads me to wonder if there aren't some negative racial vibes woven into the very fabric of Waldorf education, (or perhaps anthroposophy, which influences Waldorf. ?? I know nothing about that though, so I'm just wondering out loud. Don't mean to offend anyone!)
Rhonwyn, I don't mean to burden you with this question, but you seem to be the one here with the most experience with Waldorf, and your school sounds like an exemplary one. I'm wondering if there have been any families of color in your school during the time your kids have been there? I would be curious to know if they felt any weird racial vibes. Your school sounds wonderful, and I'm sure it is! Sometimes black folks have a more finely tuned prejudice radar, though. I know my dh occasionally has been uncomfortable in situations where I thought everyone seemed friendly and normal. He notices things I'm oblivous to sometimes. It's almost never something deliberate or malicious -- it's much more subtle, like an unspoken judgement or something. The person doing it might not even be aware of it. (We white folks can be pretty blind to our own prejudices, especially if they aren't too glaring.) I would assume that if there are several minority families who have stayed, it would probably mean they're happy with the school.