I couldn’t imagine growing up in a time where a friend might not be able to use the same bathroom or drinking fountain as I could — or even that I might be ousted for having that person as a friend. Yesterday, I asked my 6-year-old what he thought of that. “Really?” he asked. Yes, it’s hard to believe.
Then I told him how happy I was that I didn’t have work and he didn’t have school tomorrow (Monday, January 20). “Thanks to Martin Luther King,” he quickly interjected.
Just a couple days ago my sister-in-law told me how a patient wouldn’t let her draw her blood because of the color of her skin. (My sister-in-law is white.) Yes, racism runs both ways.
I’m doing my best to teach my children open-mindedness and to make friends with others because they are fun to be around, nice to others and interesting — no matter what they look like. Here are a few ways how:
- I never bring up skin color as a defining trait. My oldest son has just started to call out differences, noting “darker skin” very rarely and wanted to know how they got it.
- Letting him know that we live in one of the best nations in the world where we have the freedom to choose what we want to do. That is both a privilege and a powerful opportunity.
- Treat others as you want to be treated. Simple.
How do you teach diversity and equality to your children?
—Sarah Jo Sautter, Parenting Program Blog Editor and Publisher