Talking to your Child about Hatred and Prejudice

Explaining violent incidents
Hate is learned and can be "unlearned"
Talking to children about diversity: Preschool years
Talking to children about diversity: Onset of formal education
Hate hurts
Teaching children begins by taking a look at ourselves
An exercise for teaching diversity

Related ADL Articles:
Discussing Hate & Violence with Your Children
What to Tell Your Child About Prejudice
in English or
en Español

From The ADL Material Resource Center:
Books for Teaching About Diversity

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Teaching children begins by taking a look at ourselves

Parents, guardians, and teachers also struggle with diversity issues every day. First, we need to take a hard look at ourselves and explore our own cultural biases and assumptions. What "filters" impact the ways in which we view the world? What words are we using to teach our children about their own culture, as well as about those around them? Do our actions match our words? If the only people different than ourselves that our children see us interacting with are paid service personnel, we are indeed sending a message about how we value diversity.

We should attempt to integrate diverse information into regular conversation and daily activities. Relegating this type of conversation to "multicultural time" or to a specific holiday or month sends a message that these activities are unimportant relative to other activities. We must seek out opportunities that relate to those things that a child does daily or weekly.

We must prepare ourselves to respond to acts of bias, even if they are unintentional. Children will carefully observe how the adults in their lives intervene when someone is the target of hurtful or discriminatory behavior. Silence in the face of injustice conveys the impression that adults condone the behavior or consider it not worthy of attention. We must make it clear to our children that name-calling will not be tolerated and explain the thinking behind "zero tolerance" when it comes to prejudice.

Next: An exercise for teaching diversity

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