Teaching Kids to Embrace Diversity

No one is born racist. Nobody is born hating people who speak a different language, have a different skin color, or believe in a different God. These behaviors are the result of life experiences. Parents and educators must ensure that kids — the adults of tomorrow — are open and willing to embrace the diversity of today’s world. Our differences bring unique perspectives that can help grow minds and lead to a more tolerant world.

As such, parents should work towards providing their kids with the opportunities and experiences they will need to learn about empathy, tolerance, and respect for other cultures and people. If kids learn that differences don’t have to be “scary” and “bad,” then when they grow up they will have the awareness needed to embrace differences and recognize the strength diversity can bring.

All different but all together!

Role Modeling and Discussion

Kids learn most of their behavioral patterns through observing others, especially those closest to them such as the adults in their lives. Parents who hurl racial epithets will raise children who do the same. Parents who make an effort to surround themselves with a diverse group of friends or who seek opportunities to learn about other cultures will teach their children these positive behaviors.

Some parents tell their kids not to “see color” in a misguided attempt to fight racism. But this actually does kids a disservice. Why? Because the reality is that people DO come in varying shades of skin colors, and it’s important to acknowledge it. People of color are aware every day of their skin tone. It’s not something they can hide, nor should they have to. Recognizing, instead of ignoring these skin color differences, shows respect to people of color for who they are. 

So make sure kids understand that people come in all shades, and this is one of the many things that makes the human race great. It’s also important to acknowledge the racial and ethnic disparities that people of color encounter. Teaching the history of colonialism and the Civil Rights Movement will educate them on why these disparities exist today. Kids are not too young to learn about these topics; parents can look online for resources to teach their kids in an age-appropriate way. It’s also important to discuss the actions we can all take to address racial and ethnic disparities. Talk to them about existing issues in the current systems, explain what kind of solutions are currently proposed, and discuss how they can choose to support a solution.

Diverse Social Groups

One of the best way to teach tolerance and empathy towards others is to interact with those different than us. If kids socialize with diverse children at the playground, then they’ll learn it’s normal to see others of varying shades. Finding commonality – even as simple as children playing – can help them to see past differences.

For example, if your child loves sports, try signing them up for classes (Check out this website for football camps and classes). Teams are established based on age and skills, so it’s likely your child will get to play with people from different backgrounds. In many professional teams, players are the epitome of multiculturalism. And it’s fair to say that playing together brings people closer too.

If you live in a non-diverse area and want to teach your kids about diversity, view my article here for tips.

Traveling Enlightenment

Differences are a problem when they remain misunderstood. It can be challenging to understand another culture if kids never get the chance to experience it fully. That’s why traveling is so important. Traveling allows people to meet micro communities with their own cultures, values, and ethics. Through interaction, kids can learn different traditions and be part of their communities. Traveling with your kids can be educational on so many levels.

So think about how you influence your kids and how you can best help them to embrace a world full of diversity. You have in your hands the power to create a more tolerant world. 


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