I'm taking a study break from reading about diversity to write a blog post about diversity.
Hmm, can you tell where my heart is these days?
One of my classes this semester is Multicultural Children's Literature. It is nearly the toughest class I've ever taken (save an undergrad linguistics class that was INSANELY hard, but interesting). My reading level for the class is beyond what any reasonable person could handle. My papers and class discussions are challenging. And just when I think I have a handle on it all, something else comes along to upset the apple cart, like the massive paper I need to get cracking on but for which I still haven't chosen a topic.
But really, I think anyone parenting transracially should take a class like this. Because so much of what our children learn about race is formed through how we live our lives, and the materials we choose to bring into them. Through this class I've read and talked a lot about how racial identity is formed -- and it is formed a whole lot sooner than most people think it is. In fact, in this interview Professor Erin Winkler discusses studies that now show children as young as 3-5 years old may begin to use race to identify and exclude. Yikes! And, bias comes as part of the larger process of enculturation, which means kids learn bias from society, not just from the adults in their lives.
Did you get that?
Let me reiterate: kids learn bias from society -- and as most of us know, society does not offer equality of opportunity for everyone.
Be accepting. Be inclusive. And first and foremost, be open -- with yourself, with your children, and most importantly, with others. The richness your world will take on may just surprise you.