Creative Child

10 Ways to Increase Racial and Cultural Literacy

When thinking about raising kids to be more tolerant, my mind always zeroes in on a scene in American History X: Dad and son discuss the merits of the son’s black teacher. The son, played by Edward Norton, is enamored with his black professor. Dad discounts the son’s teacher based on race. The chink in the armor was subtle and seemed innocuous enough at the time, but it teared open a gash for a deluge of hate that would consume the son as an adult.

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The seeds we sow in the home grow roots, perhaps stronger roots than any other kind. This is especially true when it comes to accepting people who are different from us. Kids seeks the approval and acceptance of parents. So they also want to think like us. Even by remaining silent on the inequities of race, we remain complicit to the status quo, and could possibly be sending the message that it’s not accepted in our home to raise a big stink on the issues of race, prejudice and other injustices.

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Perhaps you’ve never made a racist comment or joke at a dinner table. But not being racist is not enough if we are to raise the next generation of tolerant leaders for a more just society. Here are some ways to increase racial and cultural literacy in our children. 

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