Discovering Diversity: 5 Activities to Help You Teach Your Child about Race Relations

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BLURB: In celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday January 17, 2005, adopt these five ways to help your kids learn to live together respectfully.

During the 1990s, the combined population of African Americans, Native Americans, Asians, Pacific Islanders, and Hispanics/Latinos grew at 13 times the rate of the non-Hispanic white population. As our nation grows increasingly diverse, there has never been a more important time for you to help your kids learn to live together respectfully.

“Racial division is still with us,” says Richard Gordon, author of Martin and the Mountaintop: An Illustrated Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. ( “However, we can do our part to improve relations by raising our children to celebrate and value diversity and to be proud of themselves and their family traditions.”

An award-winning poet and playwright, Gordon wrote Martin and the Mountaintop for the Black History Celebration at a local high school. Complete with a chronology of King’s life, it teaches children about the history of race relations in America. Gordon has written many plays and his poetry has been published in Essence Magazine. With a degree from Cal-State Fullerton University, he has taught children’s literature at the university level.

Here Gordon offers five activities to expand your kid’s cultural horizons:

1. Attend multicultural events.

Scan the newspaper and community calendars for festivals, plays, or art exhibits that highlight a culture other than your own.

2. Tune in.

Watch television shows and movies with your children that spotlight other races and cultures.

3. “Visit” a new place.

One day a month, cook a dish from a different country or geographical region. Make a craft from that nation or area; create a poster about it; and, if possible, listen to music from that area.

4. Mark the spot.

Visit landmarks in your area associated with the struggle for human and civil rights such as museums, public libraries and historical sites.

5. Talk it up.

Engage your children and students in conversations about cultural differences. Be sure to talk to them in a positive, nonjudgmental manner.

“Teaching your children about diversity at an early age will help them develop healthy attitudes,” says Gordon. “More importantly, it will also enable them to benefit from the rich world of cultures around them.”

Want to do more? Get the free report “7 Ways You Can Improve Race Relations in Your Community” at

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