Teaching Children to Value Racial Diversity

“Interracial harmony is more than a politically correct value of our current age. It was God’s plan from the beginning.”

That statement, taken from an article entitled, Teaching Your Kids About Racial Harmony by Jane Gilbert, should ring true 365 days of the year. How much more so on this day when we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday? We want to help provide some guidance for parents who may be wondering how to raise children who love and appreciate all of God’s people, no matter their ethnicity.

In the article, Ms. Gilbert observes that even though there are geographic locations that for various reasons don’t have an abundance of racial variety – that doesn’t excuse us from teaching racial harmony. Fill your bookshelves with diverse books that feature admirable characters of differing backgrounds. Visit art galleries with artwork from other heritages, and go to plays and watch movies about other cultures.

Other important points Ms. Gilbert mentions:

  • Children learn most by our example and actions, not by our words. As parents we need to examine our own hearts and attitudes to make sure they align with God’s.
  • Respect and answer your children’s questions about skin color, etc. Young children are known for asking candid questions. By reacting to their socially awkward question by stifling it, you may unintentionally be teaching them that there’s something shameful about our differences.
  • “One day Christians from every tribe, nation and language will stand before His throne. (Revelation 7:9) Seeking and celebrating friendships outside of our ethnic background gives our children, and us, a delicious taste of God’s kingdom on earth, as it is in heaven.”

We hope you’ll take the time to do some further research and reading:

Bloodlines, by John Piper
The Colors of Us, by Karen Katz
King Rules, by Alveda King (niece of MLK)
A Mother for Choco, by Keiko Kasza
Oneness Embraced, by Tony Evans

For a brief, informative read, try this article, The Difficult Teachings of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Jesus, on The Crossing’s blog. There you will find a list of more resources. They also suggested this video; something you can watch with your family, to remember the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that.” ~~Martin Luther King, Jr.

photo credit: WoodleyWonderWorks/Creative Commons via flickr