Professionals Against Bullying

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Do kids see color?

School is back in session. The supplies are bought, the lunches are packed-it feels like you are done right? Wrong. The best thing about a new school year is meeting new people. Your kids are exposed to people from every background, culture and ethnicity in their learning environment. They are getting regular lessons on math, English and history...what about race?
You may be thinking that it is not necessary to discuss this topic with them. Many people have shared with me at book signings that their kids do not see color. I smile and say untrue. Kids are learning their colors everyday. Crayola has a ton of names for them. When we avoid simple questions such as "Why is she brown and I'm not" we may be avoiding a teachable moment.
Some parents have shared that they feel that it is awkward to bring up ethnicity and race with young people because they are afraid of making them focus too much on the outside and not enough on the inside. I understand this concept but try this on for size. Take your children to museums, read them books and have conversations about a variety of cultures so that they can be...well you know cultured. Children shape ideas about the world when they are very young and when they are able to read books with characters from all walks of life it only expands their mind-it does not close it. Many people feel as though they need help bridging the conversation about race-my 1st book helps with this.
"Who I Am Not What I Am" was mentioned in the last edition of Corp! Magazine for the principles that it shares about diversity and inclusion for children. The main character is Janelle and she is asked "What are you?" by her classmates. In the book Janelle has a talk with her parents that help her to understand that she is not a "what" she is a "who". She also learns more about her Multicultural heritage. In the end she also learns that who she is includes her love of biking, ice cream and pets. Have a talk today-even if you've discussed it before. Many awesome stories are available to make the topic fun and interesting and if you get one of my books-I promise to sign it. :)
Read something great!


Kim Crouch said...

This is a good question to ask because many people think they don't but I read a report last week that kids start to see color as little as 6 months! So parents have to be prepared to talk to them about it before someone else tries to.

Tara Michener said...

I completely agree Kim. If no one at home starts the discussion-it does not make the topic go away. Diversity should be introduced in a positive way so that young people embrace it and enjoy the benefits that being culturally aware can bring. Thanks, Tara

Kidlutions(tm): Solutions for Kids said...


Touche'! I couldn't agree more...and I think these discussions are just as important for families that live in areas where there is very little diversity. (Yes, those towns still exist!)

Years ago, I did a grant funded program for our local library, b/c I was concerned about this very issue. It was called, "A Rainbow of People: Little Lessons in Diversity"...and it was so well-received.

Keep up the FAB work you are doing! Proud to be a fellow Michigander.

Wendy @Kidlutions

Tara Michener said...

Wendy, Thanks for weighing in! We all need to make a difference in anyway that we can and it sounds like your contribution was significant. You rock for making change happen in your community. :) Thanks for sharing! Hope to meet up with you one day.