It may be a cliché, but we are not born to hate. The trouble is too many times we witness hateful acts and prejudice and we fail to act or react. Some listen to insensitive remarks or jokes and laugh along or do nothing. I have to believe and hope that most people want to and will do the right thing if given the tools for action. Schools provide the opportunity for children raised in hateful environments a chance to change and get more prosocial values. However, like individuals, schools often fail to act or react. Schools teach children about history which highlights the costs of prejudice and discrimination. Therefore, it seems reasonable that schools should also take a more active role in giving students the tools to combat prejudice. Dr. Daniel T. Willingham writes in his book, Why Students Don’t Like School, that White parents do not speak with their children about race and racial inequities which leaves children to fill in the blanks with whatever information they latch onto. The suicide rate among gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered teens is higher than the general population as these teens are often bullied. While hateful student behavior and acts may be rooted in home life, these actions infect the community. It is imperative that our schools and teachers take a more proactive role in addressing acts of hate and prejudice wherever they arise. Different does not mean inferior, it means just… different. Educators need tools which are why I have included below some Internet sources that will give educators ideas and support for combatting school site prejudice.
What are your resources for teaching students how to be prosocial and tolerant citizens of a global world?
Resources for Educators:
Teaching about the Holocaust - http://www.ushmm.org/education/foreducators/
Teaching Tolerance- http://www.splcenter.org/what-we-do/teaching-tolerance
Teaching Kits - http://www.tolerance.org/teaching-kits
Mix-it Up at Lunch- http://www.tolerance.org/mix-it-up/map
Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia- http://www.ferris.edu/jimcrow/
True Stories of Forgiveness and Change of Heart:
From Hope to Hate: A true story of the reconciliation between a perpetrator and victim of a hate crime. http://www.museumoftolerance.com/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=tmL6KfNVLtH&b=6771093&ct=8002591
3 things Parents and Teens Should Know about Hate Groups – An interview of a former white supremacist gang member about how and why he changed is beliefs http://www.jackstreet.com/jackstreet/KTEN.RTSkinhead.cfm