At an early age, your child will take notice that she looks quite different from her friends or classmates. When she starts asking you questions about the differences among her and her friends, it will give you the opportunity to introduce her to the concept of racial equality. Prepare related activities to teach her that all races are equal.
Encourage your child's awareness about different skin colors. For preschool and school-aged kids, place several pairs of knee-high stockings in various colors on a table. Let your child try them on one by one on his hands or feet. Ask him questions about each, "Is there a stocking that matches your skin tone?" or "Is the stocking you're wearing lighter or darker than your skin color?" Emphasize that skin color is just an outer shell and that people are all the same underneath. As an activity for an older kid or teen, have him paint self-portraits. Set out many colors of paint, including black, white and pink, among others. He must find the exact color for his complexion. He will realize that the colors must be mixed to get his appropriate color. Emphasize that no one is truly white or black and everyone's color is special.
Hair textures vary among the races. Some people have fine, straight hair while others have tightly coiled, coarse hair. Kids of all ages can create collages. Cut out pictures of people of different races wearing different hairstyles. Let your child paste the pictures on a large poster. Have a discussion on what is unique about each person's hair. For example, a person could have long, blonde hair while another person may be wearing braids. If your child is an older kid or teen, let her use the pictures as inspiration to recreate styles on her own hair or on a mannequin's head. Emphasize that no person's hair texture or hair color is better than the other and all textures can be used to create many styles.
Every race on earth has similarities among their customs and culture. Let your child and a friend with a different racial background share their traditions. Help younger kids create a "Tradition Similarities" chart. Have him and his friend discuss traditions in their families to find what they share in common and write it down. For example, Asian and Hispanic children may both eat rice as part of a meal on a holiday. An older kid or teen can create a meal common among his culture and compare it to a friend's cooked meal. Emphasize that although he and his friend look different they share many of the same traditions.
Dancing and music are apparent in every racial background and different for every race. Explore how each culture has different styles of dance. Let a young child watch how-to dancing videos of cultures from around the world and learn how to dance just like the natives. For example, you can have her learn the Polynesian hula or the Latin Salsa. An older kid or teen may actually enjoy enrolling in a dance class to learn about another culture. Emphasize to your child that, regardless of race, all people love to listen to music and dance.
- Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images