Hudson Valley Parent

HVP February 2020

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22 Hudson Valley Parent n February 2020 By LAURA LYLES REAGAN H onoring differences among people supports individuals as it brings people and communi- ties together. With February recog- nized as Black History Month, what better time is there to teach your kids the value of acceptance and how it can benefit them and others? Practice diversity. Be a good race relations role model. Demonstrate positive race relations in practical ways in your own life by demonstrating diversity. Ask yourself, do I have friends of other races? If most of your friends are from your own race and culture, you may want to consider opportuni- ties for you and your child to inter- act with other races and cultures. Attend a different church on Sunday. Observe how they worship. Find something to appreciate about it and comment on it to your child. You may find yourself asking, do I openly and verbally appreciate other races and cultures in front of my child? If you see a television pro- gram about a different culture, use the opportunity to discuss a different way of life and worldview. Find one thing you like about it and state it out loud. Listen first. Don't assume shared understandings about race. Sociologist assert that chil- dren construct differences and similarities differently than adults. Children notice differences quite early, but it may be for reasons that interest children and not as adults define the difference. A teacher noticed that six-year old girls on a playground were not playing with one girl in particular, who was Af- rican American. The astute teacher listened first before intervening and found that most of the girls pre- ferred to play with girls who wore their hair with ribbons instead of girls who didn't use ribbons. The African American girl didn't use rib- bons in her hair. She was excluded from conversations and games. The girls were not excluding her because of race but because of ribbons. To adult eyes, the game looked racist but to the children controlling the game, it made sense. The teacher then noticed one girl sharing her ribbons with the African American girl. The teacher chose Honor diversity; celebrate tolerance Show your kids how acceptance benefits them and others

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