Talking about race and culture is uncomfortable. There, we said it. However, it is a conversation we need to have in order to normalize the very same conversation for our children. Wouldn’t it be great if kids could simply ask someone why they looked different from another child without uncomfortable glances from their parents? Wouldn’t it also be incredible if that child could confidently answer why their difference made them unique and amazing?
While Little Proud Kid promotes diversity and multiculturalism for children; that very concept is undeniably linked to adults. It is linked to parents and educators, grandparents and friends and undoubtedly, without their participation, our goal of an all-inclusive world for our children is not possible.
It is incredibly important then that we simply have the conversation. We need to talk to our children about race, culture and differences, yes, but we also need to talk to one another. We need to be able to ask “does the term ‘black’ or ‘white’ offend you”? We need to be able to say “why do you wear a hiijab” or even “what is a hiijab”? Cringing while reading this? We get it. However, the alternative is silence which leaves no room for growth, inclusion and appreciation of those differences. History has brought us to this point and the only way to resolve the awkward, embarrassing and even confusing relations when it comes to race, culture, gender or any other difference is to address it. We have to take a deep breath and respectfully talk to one another about differences so that we can come to appreciate them.
That one step is the very thing we want to accomplish for our children. However, for them, we want them to be able to ask those questions and speak their mind without hesitation. Even better, we want them to already be exposed to those differences so they don’t even seem ‘out-of-the-ordinary’. Yet, we cannot provide that utopia to our children unless we ourselves, as adults, show that behaviour. We need to have friends from diverse backgrounds and eat foods from different cultures. We of course should be exposing our children to diversity but we should be living it ourselves.
Children are much more receptive to mimicking our behavior; they learn through our actions. Diversity is not simply a lesson that can be taught but it needs to be practiced. We need to show our children how we want them to live through showing them that we appreciate diversity ourselves. In addition to that, we need to also provide our children a diverse world through their everyday interactions including the toys they play with and media they watch. We understand that this can be a daunting task; we’ve been there which is why we started Little Proud Kid. We want this to be a resource and community for others who struggle with this. We are a support system, a marketplace for diverse products and a resource for implementing a multicultural mindset with your children. As we prepare for Black History Month, consider these resources to start a dialogue with children around African American history.Join in on the conversation with us! How comfortable (or uncomfortable) are you talking about race and culture? Comment below or tweet us @littleproudkid; we’d love to hear your thoughts.