Teen Resource - Teaching our teens about diversity and inclusion

Good Morning! Here's the Monday Morning Blog!


Did you get a chance to touch base with that teen or young adult in your life last week? When you get a chance, ask them about what the words diversity and inclusion mean to them. Acceptance of people who are different from us is important for our country to move forward and come together. Maybe you and your teen want to help by being accepting and inclusive of others.


July's Theme - United in Diversity

Diversity is the practice or quality of including or involving people from a range of different social and ethnic backgrounds, different genders, or different sexual orientations.


Our country is composed of many people from different social and ethnic backgrounds. The history of our country has been about all types of people coming together and trying to make it in the land of opportunity.


In the United States, we are attempting to be inclusive of the many different types of people. It isn't an easy thing for some people to do. But somehow, we need to become united in our country's diversity.


This month I am going to focus on the composition of our country and how we can become more united in diversity. Check out my mentor page and see how I am doing it Selma P. Verde - Mentor Page

What is diversity and inclusion?

Our theme this month is United in Diversity. Since the United States is made up of diverse cultures due to immigration, the theme seems to fit.


Diverse people are a group of people from different cultures and backgrounds. Sometimes our teens and young adults can be intimidated by people who are different. We want to teach our teens to respect all people, even if they are different from themselves. And, not only that, but also include them in what they are doing, in the clubs and sports they belong to, the events they attend and in society as a whole.


How do we teach our teens about diversity and inclusion?

As I was researching the topic of diversity, I found an article on the website momcollective.com called "7 Ways We Can Teach our Children and Teens About Diversity and Inclusion" by Mona Verma. Verma writes the article from the viewpoint of one who immigrated to the United States from India. I think her list has some great ideas in it.


Here are the seven ways she mentions in her article. With each of her ways, I have added my ideas and thoughts on each one with some links to some of my other posts where I talk about them.


Be a good role model

As adults, we need to be good role models for our teens and young adults. If they see us socializing with people from other cultures, they will be more likely to do the same thing.


Do not make generalizations when you talk about a particular race or group

Even though it may not seem like it sometimes, our teens and young adults are listening to what we are saying. So, when we share how we feel about a certain race or culture, they may believe that is how they really are, even if it is just our own opinion.


In this month's teen challenges post, Teen Challenge - History of Diversity in our Country, I talked about microaggressions, they are defined as


a comment or action that subtly and often unconsciously or unintentionally expresses a prejudiced attitude toward a member of a marginalized group (such as a racial minority)


Through some research, I learned that the term "melting pot" is a microaggression, even though it is a term we all learned about in history classes growing up. So, just be careful what you are saying. Whether it is for your teen's benefit, or for the benefit of others around you. Being aware of what you are saying will help to increase inclusion of others who are different from you and not alienate them with a generalization.


Have conversations about current events at the dinner table

Last week in my post Inspiring Stories - Abraham Lincoln I asked if you knew who your teen was following on social media or where they were getting their daily news from. Here is a great format to ask about that and share your view with them about what is going on in the world. It could also lead to some great conversations to help your family learn more about each other.


Read diverse books

There are many books out there about other cultures and people from backgrounds different from our own. One is this month's book of the month, The Firekeepers Daughter, where the Native American culture is featured. I mentioned several others through my social media posts this month. Whether the book is fiction or nonfiction, it will give you some ideas about others, how they have learned things about themselves, and how they feel they fit into our diverse country.


Watch diverse TV shows and movies

There are many movies out there about diversity. There are also movies that tell the stories of specific cultural groups as they immigrated to American and navigated the diverse cultures found here. One of the movies I watched recently was called Green Book. It was a story of a black musician who was being driven around the Deep South in 1962 by a tough white Italian American, who was hired to protect him from the inequalities found in the south at that time.


Travel the world physically or virtually

By using the internet, we can travel to different places in the world and learn more about them. Do some research on your own and then give your teen some fun assignments to have them research these places on their phones. Challenge them with questions they have to find the answers to.


If it is within your budget, plan a trip to visit these places in person. Or if that isn't doable, take some time and sit down at a computer and explore these places together. It may be fun to learn about these places and cultures and share your thoughts and feelings with each other.


Visit cross-cultural events and international festivals

There are many places and events you can check out locally that will introduce your teen to different cultures. Here are a couple of examples

  • Art Museums - Often feature artists from all over the world

  • Music Festivals - Sometimes at a local park or in a concert hall, but often these events feature music from different cultures

  • Local Library - Will feature local authors and people from the community who have done great things. This type of activity can also bring about being able to talk to them directly and ask questions.

Be sure to check online for schedules of these types of events near you. It would be a great way to support diversity in your community and learn something about a culture different from yours.

Talk to your teen about diversity and inclusion

Take the time to sit down with your teen and ask them how they feel about the diversity found in this country and how they chose to approach inclusion of others. In this post, there are several ideas on how you can help your teen learn more about diversity and inclusion by not just talking about it (which is always a good starting point) but also going and seeing some of these differences firsthand.


Doing these types of things with your teens can be a great way to not only learn about the different cultures found in our diverse country, but it can also be a way to help include some of the diversity found here into your own activities and life.


The Way Series is a good choice

Along with including characters with diverse backgrounds, both of the books in The Way Series focus on high school and the challenges teens can face. The Hard Way focuses on peer pressure and Shawn's Way focuses on bullying. Looking for a couple of reads for your teens this summer? Check these two options out on the books tab of my website, Selma's Books



Have a great week!