Originally Posted by Cajunmomma
But what can you do when you don't have much opportunity to meet people of other races/ethnic groups/etc? We homeschool here, and there are very few homeschoolers here who aren't white. Actually, it's kind of funny, because my husband is Hispanic but nobody ever thinks of him that as a member of a minority (including me). We have a very diverse population in the city we live in--we have a university with people from many different countries here--but I'm stumped as to how to meet them.
Can someone help? You can pm me if I'm way too OT.
I am white, with a 3 y.o. white DD. I agree that it can be very difficult to expose your DC to a range of different people if you live in an isolated or homogeneous area. If you live in an area that is diverse, however, you are lucky! There are opportunities galore for you if you will only stretch beyond your comfort zones.
Can you look beyond your home schooling social group for social/educational opportunities? I have arranged an exchange with a Latina woman so we can teach one another English/Spanish. I don't really have the $$ for Spanish lessons and have looked high and low for someone (and happily, have finally found her) with whom I can trade language lessons. The best part is (which is what I was looking for) she has a 10 year old daughter who loves little ones, so I can bring along my 3 y.o. DD and we can all interact in eachother's languages.
If your city is diverse, I am certain there are playgrounds full of families of all skin tones. Go find 'em! You may not meet close friends, but your DC will have the opportunity to interact and play with kids of different cultures/races. Do your local kids museums or zoos have classes? I find these types of urban kid-focused classes are full of a diverse array of children.
If your city is diverse, I bet there are all kinds of festivals and celebrations. My city has, among other things, a Cape Verdean independence day festival, an African heritage festival, a Dominican Republic Pride day, a Chinese new year celebration, and on and on.
Ditto with interesting ethnic restaurants and markets. We go to a Cambodian restaurant where much to the delight of the Cambodian waitstaff DD shovels in nime chow and knocks back a soup full of cilantro, red pepper flakes, mushrooms and garlic. She is curious about the shrine they have there and the waiters are very eager to share information with us/her. Through our casual conversations with one friendly waiter, we got invited to see his daughter perform a traditional Cambodian dance with her dance troupe and to a celebratory feast afterwards.
These are not forced, "let's go out and meet the non-white people!" excursions, but rather wonderful adventures and opportunities to explore the rich diversity of cultures around us. Although I dislike living in an urban setting and long for several acres of a self-sustaining garden, I love the diversity of our area. DD is in a pre-school which is roughly about half white. She has friends of all different races and it offers great opportunities for discussion. I absolutely think kids notice color as soon as they can SEE. (DD was verbal from a young age and at 20 months asked me if a very dark-skinned friend of mine had a 'skin boo-boo.') I think it's important not to shy away from kids' use of skin colors as descriptors or to treat that as somehow "bad."
Absolutely agree with many PP who have pointed out that as white parents we get to CHOOSE when and how we will expose our kids to the notions of race/racism - and what a luxury that is. It is a privilege I am painfully aware of and and a responsibility I do not take lightly. We have had a few conversations about who MLK was, and how some people don't like others simply because of the color of their skin, and how sad and terrible that is. I'm not content to teach tolerance - I work very hard at trying to raise a child who is more understanding, more open, more loving, more embracing of differences than I was raised to be.