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Doll guide in black and white

Nurseries should have dolls of different "skin" colours and hair types, the Commission for Racial Equality says in guidance published today.

Books, jigsaws, posters and games for under-fives ought to reflect a multiracial society. Children ought also to be made to understand that chopsticks, fingers or cutlery are only different ways of eating and that none is better than another.

Questions such as "Why am I black?" or "Why is she black?" should be clearly and factually answered. Children should understand that English is but one among many languages and that it is a strength to speak more than one language.

Children should not be labelled as deprived if, for cultural reasons, they do not play with manufactured toys.

Herman Ouseley, the Commission's chairman, said: "Today's children will be tomorrow's adults. It is our responsibility to make sure that they grow up free of racial prejudice, so that they can play their part as responsible citizens of diverse backgrounds in a just and fair society."