- Value diversity. Encourage your kids to seek out friendships with people who look different. Look around at your own group of friends and see how ethnically diverse it is. Think about branching out and expanding your circle, not just to include people of diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds but different political, religious or socio-economic backgrounds as well. Learn to value diversity to expand your own horizons, buck stereotypes and show your kids how we are more alike than we are different.
- Allow your kids the opportunity to be a minority. It is really hard to know what it feels like to be a minority until you’ve experienced yourself. Find cultural festivals in your area and take your kids to them. Sign them up for a class or camp where they are the only one of their race, religion or gender. Talk about how it felt and how they coped with that environment. How would it effect their personality if they lived that way everyday? What could the other kids do to make them feel more comfortable?
- Watch out for fear. When you see scary things on the news, it’s natural to catastrophize and think the whole world is going to hell and we are not safe. This sends our reptilian brain into a tailspin looking for more things to worry about and evidence to prove the world is a dangerous place. What researches know is that fear leads to hatred. When we don’t feel safe, we look for someone to blame. We lose access to our higher selves and our logical brains. For those of us who find it easy to love people of all races, the most important thing is to keep our hearts open. If watching the news increases fear, don’t watch. Continue to believe the world is a loving and accepting place and act accordingly. If worries and fears have taken over your brain, read The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris, Phd, the best book I’ve ever read for decreasing anxiety and fears.
- Teach your kids to stand up to racist humor. Tell them that saying nothing means you are saying racial discrimination is ok. I have managed to surround myself with people who know not to make racial comments or jokes around me but teenagers get a lot of it and they don’t know how to react. The “teenage experts” I consulted (currently in the back seat of my car) say the best way to teach other teens their jokes aren’t funny is to not laugh. When someone is trying to be funny and you give a serious look and say “that’s wrong” or “not cool” or something similar that changes the energy to a serious tone, they will get the message.
10 Powerful Questions
5 Questions every morning to give you clarity and intention.
5 Questions every evening to give you satisfaction and gratitude.
This is the best way to get you in the driver’s seat of your life.