The "Human Colour" Crayon: Investigating the Attitudes and Perceptions of Learners regarding Race and Skin Colour

Neeske Alexander, Elmarie Costandius

Abstract


Some coloured and black learners in South Africa use a light orange or pink crayon to represent themselves in art. Many learners name this colour “human colour” or “skin colour”. This is troublesome, because it could reflect exclusionary ways of representing race in images and language. This case study, conducted with two schools in the Western Cape, investigated Grade 3 learners’ attitudes and perceptions regarding race and skin colour through art processes and discussion. The aim was to promote critical engagement with race in Foundation Phase educational contexts. Suggestions include changing the language used to describe skin colour, just recognition and representation of races in educational resources and the promotion of critical citizenship education. This research indicates the need to create practical curriculum guidelines to discuss race issues in the South African classroom.


Keywords


art; case study; critical citizenship; curriculum; educator training; Foundation Phase; identity; racism; skin colour

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.17159/1947-9417/2017/995

Copyright (c) 2017 Neeske Alexander

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