When I teach my Kindergarten students about diversity, I begin by giving them language they can use to understand differences and communicate with one another with respect.
Too often, adults avoid talking about skin color and race with young children, particularly white parents and white educators like me. The well-meaning ones who avoid the conversation tell themselves (despite considerable evidence to the contrary) that by not talking about skin color and race, children will simply not notice those differences and be naturally inclusive with one another, communicating “human” to “human.”
A white father, a multiracial son, and a new football tradition.
Being an upstander can be hard, especially if the people you are standing up to happen to be your dearest relatives and when standing up means standing alone.
For fifty-two seasons, Adam loved NFL football. For fifty-two seasons it was more than a game, it was a way of life. Through the Washington Redskins football franchise, he and his family shared and shed tears of joy, pain and agony.
Why many Muslims, including me, will be fasting on 9/11
This year a mysterious confluence of time overlaps the season of Hajj with the 15th anniversary of 9/11.
Hajj is a pilgrimage to Makkah (Mecca), in Saudi Arabia, that Muslims are required to undertake once in their lifetime, if they are able to. Pilgrims leave their worldly affairs behind, don a simple white cloth, and partake in rituals that retrace the footsteps of Abraham. The journey commemorates sacrifice, striving, fellowship to humanity, our connection and eventual return to God.
Racial socialization involves the implicit and explicit ways that families convey their own views about race and racism to their children. At times, these messages are purposely delivered to bring affirming language and pride to one’s racial group and to protect against the child’s inevitable encounters with racism. At other times, these messages are unintentionally delivered after a racialized moment.
Racial socialization among African American parents has been found to be a primary way parents assist children in coping with racial bias, instilling racial pride, and contributing to their children’s self-esteem. Can too much preparation be harmful?
I once thought we could get to justice if we could just help poor kids of color get more comfortable with their poverty.
Burnout saved my life.
I didn’t think so at the time. In fact, while it was happening, my burnout as a public middle school English teacher felt like watching a close friend dying a little bit each day while I helplessly looked on.
For ten years, I was a dedicated teacher, spending my time, energy, and money in order to provide the best education I could for my students.
But something was wrong. It wasn’t that I wasn’t working hard enough. It was that I was working in the wrong direction.
Lists, Reviews and Your Recommendations
Here’s the thing about “diverse” children’s books: some of them… not so great. You know, the books about Native Americans that lump them together, idealize them, put everybody in teepees, get the history wrong, and more. Books about Asian Americans in which everyone’s an alike-looking, broken-English-speaking foreigner. And the huge disproportion of books about black and Latino families in which everyone’s poor and life’s a never-ending struggle! Many are good, quite good. But the near single-storying of black and brown people also feeds harmful stereotypes and denies the diversity of our experiences and the fullness of our humanity.
And then there’s this: many parents confirm and kids report that too many “multicultural” offerings are straight-up boring.
All to say: yep, We Need Diverse Books AND we might need help distinguishing the wheat from the chaff in what we already have. Let’s do this!