When you look at my family what do you see? You probably note a mom, a dad, and three little boys. Along with the genders and relative ages I’m sure you note the different skin tones. My family is a rainbow. And it is our mixed colors that make us beautiful. Can you imagine a rainbow that was all red or all blue or all green? It would be pretty in its own way because each individual color is beautiful. But a color on its own is not nearly as spectacular as the whole spectrum streaming the sky. It’s the same with people. We are all beautiful in our own individual way. But together, the results are remarkable. I am grateful for my family’s diversity & for the diversity that graces our country. Our unique external and internal colors are what make this world spectacular.
I love and respect those that are like me, and I love and respect those that are different. And until lately I thought that was enough. Growing up in a very diverse area of California I didn’t encounter much racism until I was an adult. I am grateful for the loving, accepting environment I was raised in, but because of this limited upbringing I have been naive and possibly even apathetic about the issue of race. I truly thought racism was just an ugly part of our past. Now I know that is not the case. I cannot stand idly by anymore. The world needs more than happy thoughts and good intentions. It is time to fight racism and it is time to embrace diversity.
It is time to act, to work together to build a society founded on equality, love, and respect. A society that not only tolerates or accepts diversity, but a society that empowers and depends on each individual’s unique differences. This is a world with limitless possibilities. This is the world that I want my children to be a part of.
Today’s world is much more global than the world I grew up in. Issues are no longer contained to the ideologies and behaviors of our family, friends, and neighbors. We are affected by the thoughts and actions of others world wide. Because of this our impact must be felt not just locally but globally. There’s always the question of what to do in this battle against racism. Knowing how to handle this delicate topic can be confusing and a little overwhelming. Let me reassure you, doing something is always better than doing nothing. It is the lack of action that allows and seemingly encourages racism.
How to Fight Racism and Embrace Diversity
Teach the Children:
If our children are the future than the best way to build a better future is by raising aware, sensitive, and unbiased children. If you want to fight racism than you must teach your children. Kids are sponges. They so quickly absorb the ideologies, beliefs, customs, and traditions of those around them. If you demonstrate racial tolerance and openly celebrate diversity it will spread like a wild fire.
One way to introduce the topic is by celebrating what makes each person unique. Start by pointing out the what makes your child unique. Then highlight the differences within your own family and among others you know. Allow your child to recognize the different sizes, shapes, and colors that people come in. Then point out the beauty in each variable. Also, note the internal differences that contribute to our diverse rainbow, our varying tastes, interests, hobbies, passions, and personalities.
Embrace New Cultures:
The more you expose your children to diversity the more they will grow to love it. Celebrate your own culture while embracing other cultures in your home. My family celebrates St. Nick’s Day as part of my Swiss heritage and later in December we celebrate Kwanzaa to recognize my husband’s African heritage. We have also embraced Boy’s Day from Japan, Cinco de Mayo from Mexico, Hawaii’s Lei Day, Samoa’s White Sunday, and China’s Hey Fat Choi. When we celebrate these holidays we talk about the cultures, we make traditional dishes, and we locate the country of origin on our globe. This is a fun way to make the worlds seem a little smaller.
Learn About New Places and New People:
Another way we teach our diversity in our home is through travel. Before we visit a new place we educate our children on its location, language, and culture. As we travel we make a point to get to know the place we are visiting and its people on more than a superficial level. We try to speak their language, eat their food, go in to their neighborhoods, and adapt to their ways of life. My children don’t usually go on these getaways but we always bring back gifts and food that are unique to our destination. These simple acts help our children feel connected to the places we travel and to the people that live there.
It’s great to love diverse peoples but it’s even better to let those people feel your love. Let your friends and family know you support them and you love them. Being the minority can feel so lonely and scary. You don’t always know exactly who you can turn to. Offer comfort and support, be a shoulder to cry or a hand to hold din times of need, if nothing else, let them know that they are loved.
Don’t hide your voice and don’t hide your convictions. I’m not asking you to jump on a soap box and preach your idealogies but don’t be afraid to let others know how you believe. When topics of race come up in natural conversation you can defend your convictions and defend those who need defending. Look for opportunities to promote diversity and a love for all people.
Social media is one of the easiest and least intrusive ways to show support for a good cause and help fight racism. You can share that awesome article you read, or publicly like that accurate meme you saw or update your profile picture with a message of peace.
Watch Your Words:
Be mindful of your words. Just because you don’t use derogatory terms doesn’t mean that your language doesn’t hide misleading content. Make sure that the way you speak about people coincides with your beliefs and sends a clear picture of how you feel regarding diversity and racism.
If you hear someone using racist language, even in humor, please stop it. It isn’t funny. Such words are hurtful and they open the door to hate. It can be hard to make a moral stand but it is incredibly important that you do. You can be kind and loving while firmly stating that you do not approve of derogatory language. Many times, people aren’t aware of the offense their words cause and they appreciate the awareness.
Anti-racism groups are spreading all over the country and online. Connect with like-minded people to show your support, fight racism, and offer help in any way you feel comfortable.
Together we can fight racism with consistent love, awareness, and by following these simple steps. By working together we can build a world worthy of our children; all of our uniquely beautiful children. Today, I commit to stand for all people. Will you stand with me?