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  • Carol Swartout Klein

How to talk to your kids about tolerance

By: Kurt Greenbaum

How To Talk To Kids About Tolerance

The National Association of School Psychologists has an online resource guide with ideas about how to address issues of tolerance and social justice with children. A few of their tips (with the full menu available online here) include:

  • Remind children not to characterize an entire group or class of people by how a few of them behave.

  • Note that one of America’s core strengths is its diversity.

  • Reinforce this core principle: Treat people with fairness, respect and dignity.

The NASP counsels parents to “model tolerance and compassion. Children take their emotional cues from the significant adults in their lives. Avoid making negative statements about any racial, ethnic, or religious group. Reach out to your neighbors and colleagues who might feel at risk because of their ethnicity, religion or other traits.”

A variety of excellent online videos offer tools for talking about issues such as race, prejudice, stereotyping and white privilege.

Diversity Advocate Vernā Myers

Her TED Talk in November 2014 addresses Ferguson and beyond, focusing on the three things she thinks we should be doing:

  • Get out of denial. “Stop trying to be good people. We need real people.” Don’t try to be “color blind.” Acknowledge and confront biases.

  • Move toward young black men instead of away from them. “Walk toward your discomfort. Don’t take crazy risks, but expand your professional and social circles.”

  • When we see something, have the courage to say something. Call out prejudice and racism. “We’ve got to be able to say, ‘Grandma, we don’t call people that anymore.’”

Performance Artist Hetain Patel

His TED Talk challenges viewers to consider their assumptions about race, background and ethnicity in an entertaining and sometimes humorous examination of how people look and speak.

Ideas About “How to Talk About Race”

Eric Deggans, TV/Media Critic for the Tampa Bay Times and chair of the Media Monitoring Committee for the National Association of Black Journalists, says “the conversation about race in America is just beginning — but it's vital that we not shy away from it.” Another solid TED Talk.

Stereotyping vs. Clebrating Differences

Sarah Jones, a comedian and character actor, speaks about the line between stereotyping and celebrating cultural differences in this interview on National Public Radio’s TED Radio hour.

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