Celebrating Diversity in Schools without Making Minority Students Feel different

Why are we celebrating diversity? Why not just live it? If we make a big deal about our diversity, then we absolutely are calling attention to our differences. Why would we beg the question with such young children?

DIVERSITY IN BACKGROUNDS

Accepting one another, socio-ethnic differences and all, will accomplish a lot more than creating festivals and diversity days. Discriminations about race, nationality, appearances, and such simply must not be tolerated.

At the same time, we can foster increased interaction between students from varying backgrounds. With primary school kids, why would educators make this an outright issue for kids? Young children don’t innately attach judgments to appearances. They just look at their classmates and make visual observations about them.

A kindergartner may say, “Susie is pink, and Bobby is brown.” He may note that “Billy has brown eyes, and Joey has blue ones.” He might even add that “Amy has a red shirt on, and Kari has a green one.” All are valid empirical observations. If a young child is not taught to add value judgments to such thoughts, he may simply notice his classmates’ differing features.

DIVERSITY IN CHOICES

As kids mature and begin to question, perhaps they will disagree on issues, but that may only encourage greater dialogue. Certainly, we may oppose one another’s personal standards, faith, and moral choices. We may contradict each other’s politics. Our interests and tastes may differ. Such diversity may lead to interesting and thought-provoking discussions.

Civil dialogue is a cornerstone of human civilization.

It’s not the school’s job to push agendas, but the school does have to create a safe community for kids of all kinds. That’s not a purpose for a party, just a requirement before the opening bell.