Racism is a difficult subject simply because it’s been turned upside down and inside out, mainly by the media. It’s 2017, we shouldn’t be having issues over the color of someone’s skin or their ethnicity but because many people are small-minded, we do. The hardest about teaching kids about racism is teaching them every aspect. Many kids are told about racism in school but it’s never truly expounded upon. However, it’s not just the school’s responsibility to raise children up in awareness and fairness. Here are a few tips to teaching your kids about racism.
- It doesn’t just happen to African Americans. Although it happens often to African Americans, racism is everywhere and don’t think for a second that it doesn’t happen among other ethnicities, including white people. It is more commonly seen in certain ethnicities but racism is a plague and reaches to all corners of the earth.
- It doesn’t just occur between white people and African Americans. The media has been great about pitting these two ethnicities against each other when in all actuality, there are many who get along just fine without one thought about the difference in their ethnicities. I mean, for goodness sakes, it’s America. There is just about every type of ethnicity represented here. However, there are many who don’t get along as well but that often comes down to the person themselves and the issues in their life that usually cause this type of hate. It’s very sad but I personally do not believe those that are seen on the news represent the majority for either race whether the media tries to paint it that way or not.
- Don’t play the part of the victim. Teaching kids from an early age to not let racism stop them from becoming who they are is a vital step to them reaching their dreams and goals. Often times, we teach kids to flop when they’re “hit” but that’s only going to make life tougher for them. Racism is, sadly, always going to be there but if kids at an early age are taught to see that those who are racist have the issues and not themselves, then they will be more inclined to push through the haters in general, including when racism isn’t even involved.
- Don’t get caught up in it. It’s really easy for many kids to become followers. My parents always taught me to be independent and a leader. I’m thankful they did because I felt more in control of peer pressure growing up. Don’t be afraid to push kids a little to be the example. It may embarrass them when they’re younger but they will grow to be strong-willed and firm in their decisions. This in itself allows the values you taught them to stick leaving them less likely to get involved in racism altogether.
- Have them interact with other ethnicities. From a young age, if kids are used to being around other ethnicities, it feels normal whereas, if they get thrust into it when they’re older, it feels uncomfortable. Let your kids experience various types of people including how wealthy they are as they grow up.
- Don’t shelter them so much. It’s easy for many of us to want to shelter our kids from the harsh realities of the world until we’re forced to explain it or show them. I know from experience that it does more damage than good. Of course, this is within reason, don’t be crazy about it. However, don’t hide them from things they truly should know. You would be surprised at how resilient they are and how much they already know. Instead of making them receive perceptions and ideas from other sources, be the first to tell them because the first time they hear about something is often what they hold onto as truth.
- Be the example. I have to say that this is the biggest one for me. I have always been taught that if you want your kids to jump ten feet, you have to jump twenty. If you’re not practicing the things you’re teaching them, then it most likely won’t stick. Kids watch what we do more than they listen to what we say. Actions have the upper hand when it comes to being a long term example.
- Watch your words. Kids listen to the random things you say and will often repeat them. This goes into being the example again. If you’re bashing an ethnicity or even just make a harsh joke about another ethnicity, it could sink into their head. Older kids may be better at understanding and differentiating when it’s not real but little kids aren’t usually as keen on these things. Kids hold on to the craziest things as well, sometimes things we don’t even remember. That’s what it’s so important for us as adults to be meticulous with what we say and how we say it.