Raising Children to Respect Diversity

Posted Jun 9, 2020

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Summary

Get tips to raise your children to celebrate diversity and avoid stereotyping.


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Hello, welcome to Raising Diversity In Your Home, The Diverse Family Series. I'm Cynthia Washington Williams, a licensed professional counselor, and a military and family life counselor, who has counseled with service members nationally and internationally. Including places like Dubai, Portugal, Hungary, Germany, and Italy. This presentation is being brought to you on behalf of Beacon Health Options. Again, Raising Diversity In Your Home, The Diverse Family Series.

Some of the objectives and the things that we're going to talk about over the next few moments: we're going to define culture, we want to look at stereotypes, multiple perspectives and views, because as many people that might be listening at this, everyone has their own particular perspective and their view of how they see the world. The importance of setting examples, guiding curiosity, providing unconditional love and embracing unity. What we do know is a person who desires to teach diversit. In order to teach diversity, you must first be a student and a partaker of cultural diversity. Together, please join me. Let us explore the following learning points.

What are some things that define a culture? When I think of culture, culture can encompass religion, food, what we wear, how we wear it, our language, marriage, music, what we believe is right or wrong, how we sit at the table, how we celebrate holidays, how we greet visitors, how we behave with loved ones and a million other things. So, hopefully that broaden your view of what's culture. The word culture, did you know that it actually comes from a French term? It comes from the Latin, “colere”, which means to tend the earth and grow or cultivation and nurture. What makes your culture unique and different from others. This is what I want you to start thinking about as we go through this exciting presentation. Reflecting on your own culture and what makes it unique.

So as we define culture, it means that the behaviors, the beliefs, the material traits, or the characteristics of a social, religious or ethnic group. That's actually what the definition of culture is. And so, as we talk about culture, start thinking about how your family, how your group, how you live, how you move, how you breathe, how you handle things, what you like, what you believe in, because the sum total of ways of living built up by a group of human beings and transmitted from one generation to another. I'm sure there are those of you who are listening, who can think back. Wow, my family takes an annual trip. My parents took an annual trip. Their parents took an annual trip. Or maybe when you start thinking about certain foods that are prevalent. Seafood or different dishes, think about those things. And understand that they get transmitted from generation-to-generation.

Once again, it's the sum total of ways of living built up by a group of human beings and transmitted, like I said, from one generation to another. Cultural traditions, unless you ask, you will never know why. So one of the things that you can begin to do is asking others. Definitely, when I go overseas to places like Germany, and Italy, and Spain, and Dubai, I'm always very curious about some of their cultural traditions. I know that they're different from mine, but I'm very curious. So every time I go into a different country over the past 13 years, I'm very inquisitive about their traditions.

So some examples of traditions might be New Years. In Spain, they have a tradition that they eat 12 grapes right before midnight, each grape is eaten at the same time as the countdown to midnight. In the Jewish culture, their wedding tradition, culturally, the male typically breaks glass in the wedding ceremony. A Christmas tradition is kissing under the mistletoe and Christmas season. So at this point, I would like for the audience to reflect on your own traditions. And more importantly, what traditions are you teaching and passing down to your children?

This is a term that we need to give a lot of attention to. It's called stereotyping. Stereotyping is a simplified, and I'm going to read the definition verbatim. It's a simplified and standardized conception or image invested with special meaning and held in common by members of a group. So this sometimes is when you hear people placing a particular group in one basket, by saying, "All of those people are like this." Or, "All of those people think like this." It's an example of stereotyping. So the question that I would like to pose, do you think certain stereotypes have actually been passed from generation-to-generation? What are your thoughts? Do you think that certain stereotypes have actually been passed from generation-to-generation?

Some common stereotypes. Can anyone think of any stereotypes that you heard growing up? Stereotypes where certain names and adjectives were ascribed to certain groups? Have you ever personally been stereotyped? Have you experienced being stereotyped? Is it possible to change the way we generalize and group people? Let's take a few moments. I'd like to ask the group to give some examples of other stereotypes. Let's look at what we say, because what we say is what children hear and believe. So let's just take a few minutes and think about that. Raising diversity, going forward should exclude common stereotypical comments.

We do sometimes unknowingly raise children to believe things that are not always true, because maybe we're passing them down from things that we heard growing up. For example, what about this stereotype? All boys like blue and all girls like pink. We know that that's not always the case, but that's an example of a stereotype. Some of the points about stereotyping that I think it's important to raise. It's a mistake. Let me reiterate that. It is actually a mistake to stereotype people prior to knowing the truth about them. It is simply prejudice. And if you look at that word prejudice, really what it's saying is pre-judge. I'm making a pre-judgment about somebody that I don't even know.

How would you feel if people developed opinions without ever having a conversation with you first? Let's say you walked into... If someone walked into a room and maybe they had tattoos. Do you stereotype them? Do you develop an opinion without ever having a conversation? What if someone has their hair colored? Do you develop opinions without ever having a conversation? I'd like for us to note that stereotyping is insensitive. And really it can limit potentially great relationships, because if you prejudge somebody based on how they look on the outside, you could really miss being able to be connected with that person who could be a great asset to your life. So I just want to remind everyone of the golden rule. I'm sure you all have heard this. Treat others as you would like to be treated. That's the golden rule.

So we talked about perspectives. Multiple perspectives. How you think people view your culture and your cultural truth. How you think people view your culture and your cultural truth. This is a judgment free exercise, but I'd like everyone to participate in it, please. People may agree to disagree. And that's fine. Take a moment to write points on each column for how you think others view or see your culture and your actual truth. Let me read that again. Take a moment to write points on each column for how you think others view or see your culture and your actual cultural truth. There may be points that go to both columns or are separate from one another.

These points may highlight what you need to teach or introduce to your family. Because like we said, a lot of our learning comes from what we grew up hearing and believing. Perspective. What you see actually depends not only on what you look at, but also where you are looking at it from. To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world. And use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others. I'm sure you've heard this phrase, your perception is your reality. That means the way you see it, the way you see and view the world comes from your thoughts, your beliefs and your experiences. So, let's never assume that we know all about a person, a group or a culture, because you've never been near them. It takes going deeper to really get to know a culture or a person.

This is why learning different perspectives is actually important to you and your family. And so normally when I go on military assignments for counseling, I'm in countries for three to three and a half months, which allows me to get immersed in the culture and ask all of those questions that I have so that I can learn the culture. And to be honest, to debunk some stereotypical myths. So let's learn to discover and develop relationships with different groups of people. Everybody has something to bring to the table. Don't let a limited perspective rob you of your opportunity to make a difference in someone's life or receive something life changing that may just come from another perspective. And like we were talking about, a lot of what we have believe, see, and think, is definitely correlated to what we grew up believing, hearing, and seeing. So if we want to talk about raising the diversity in our home, one of the things we're going to have to start doing is setting positive examples for the family.

We're going to have to start exposing ourselves, because remember we have to be the partaker. We have to be the student of culture diversity. Expose yourself to other cultures. Respect others even if you haven't been in the past. And their rights to think and be. Remember, you are uniquely different. No two people are the same. And so is everyone else. Prejudice. Pre-judging will actually limit your viewpoints and your perspective. Keep an open mind, develop relationships with people who come from different backgrounds. Be curious enough to ask questions, embrace the differences that you find in others while discovering possible similarities. Remember, in most cases we are more alike than we are different.

Neither books, religion, ethnicity, nor culture can define a person. Be an example of good character. The way you behave, speaks very loudly. And some of the tips that I'd like to share for you, when we talk about raising diversity and guiding curiosity. Intentionally guide a child into the discovery of other cultures. For example, museums, books, movies, travel, maybe getting the map that actually has the world that includes other countries. Maybe planning a trip to a place that's totally different. Teaching beyond borders, intentionally putting your children in places where they will see, hear and communicate with other groups. Ask questions about their experience, nurture them through the rough spots, avoid stereotypes, take advantage of teachable moments. Be a role model. Who's in your child's life? Are you being inclusive or exclusive?

All of us have been guided by our families, our parents and teachers. New experiences, new experiences will lead to curiosity and questions that are going to help develop our cultural mindset. Questions may be asked, such as, "Hey, what's the object on this stove have on it? What's behind this door?" Discovery can be great. And even better when it's guided by wisdom and experience. Know that your child will eventually form his or her own opinions. You don't take credit for everything they become, because you can't. You cannot take credit for everything they become and accomplish. Neither can you blame them for their failures. But just learn to love them conditionally. No strings attached.

And let me give you a few more tips. Help them embrace diversity by experiencing different foods of different cultures. When I go overseas, when I was in Hungary, I had Hungarian goulash. When I was in Germany, I ate lots of pommes frites. So when you go to different cultures, don't be afraid to experience different foods. Seek out cultural events, experience cultural music, dance, and art. Respect people's choices without compromising your own. Love people for who they are. Remembering, they don't have to be like you. Disney World has an around the world type venue that offers different cuisines from cultures all across the globe. And Germany has an amusement park that has different areas with all of the different cultures and different countries. Different should not be equal to wrong. This is a valuable lesson to take away from today.

Let's review what we've learned. We've defined culture. We looked at the meaning and impact of stereotypes. We've looked at multiple perspectives. How others view your own culture and vice versa. We've looked at tips for your family for setting positive examples, guiding curiosity and ways to embrace unity. Do you have any questions about what you learned today? On behalf of Beacon Options, I want to thank you. And if you would like to get further information about your employee assistance program, please contact your HR representative for the employee assistance program information through Beacon Options. Thank you for spending this time. And let us all increase our awareness by Raising Diversity In Our Home, The Diverse Family Series. Thank you.

 

 

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