The topic of race is too often reduced to encouraging our children to ignore the racial differences around them, with the idea that this will result in creating a “colorblind” child who is more inclusive in her ability to see beyond color. This approach is inadequate and does not promote inclusivity. The following is a developmental guide to talking about race for ages three to eight.
How do I explain to my kids the racism that does not come in the form of explicit laws and overt, blatant prejudice?
Would she feel irritable about the language barrier, hate the food or complain so relentlessly that I’d fantasize about leaving her stranded on a downtown street corner?
The criticism that the filmmakers of "American Promise" have faced for filming their kids over the course of 13 years misses the point entirely.
My daughter Meazi likes moms who are made-up, fashionable and beautiful, who have fine jewelry and nice leather boots. Moms who are not me. But when she wrote down what she was thankful for this Thanksgiving, I could not have been more surprised by her response.
One of the key goals in my kindergarten class is to create an inclusive and safe community of learners. The understanding I want my students to have when they leave my classroom is that we are all different in some ways and alike in others and that by understanding and recognizing our differences and similarities we are participating in an essential part of building a just, inclusive and safe environment. Here are the steps I have taken in my classroom to make this happen.
Berkeley, California has a unique school system, compared to most of the U.S. Here's what I love about it.
I didn't grow up in a very happy household. My parents saw the world as a menacing place, full of people out to screw you. For years I didn't understand that happiness is something you create and are uniquely responsible for. I thought that was one of those bullshit concepts only highly evolved spiritual people or fake happy people really thought.
I don’t know how to run a lemonade stand, make ice pops or build a sandcastle—all time-honored traditions of an American summer that I am struggling to acquire alongside my three-year-old Indian-American daughter. Among the many cultural dilemmas that we immigrant parents in the U.S. navigate when raising our children in a completely different culture is how to engage in the everyday rituals of our adopted homeland so that our children can fully embrace their hyphenated heritage.
When did my son begin to find his heritage? Not an easy thing for non-Native parents, despite my research and graduate degree in educational experiences of First Nations’ women artists. He knows that there was a man who fathered him for a year and then left. This he should know is not part of the Native American culture, nor part of a tradition, but just a bad call by a young man who couldn’t be a father to him for more than that.
Even though Arabic is one of the languages they were raised in since birth, they prefer Spanish. Here is why.
When my son's patka (small Sikh turban) was pulled off his head at school, my initial reaction was to educate the children about what the patka represents. I was hoping that the bullying incident might have encouraged his teachers to become more culturally responsive. I was very wrong.
I was sure not to fail on helping my kids make (or let’s be real—making for my kids while they kind of help) cute Valentine’s this year. But alas I did. Then I came up with this super last minute but sweet idea.
A six-year-old friendly account of an important U.S. historical figure
In Nigeria, we believe in showing the utmost respect for your elders. In the Yoruba tribe, we have several cultural norms related to how you greet and address elders. Fast forward to raising a child in America. How does one combine “hi mommy” with the “good morning mommy” from home? How do you teach your child what is valuable to you in your culture?
Here is a small glimpse of multiculturalism at work in my daughter’s kindergarten class in Berkeley, California where I volunteered for a few hours last week.
This weekend we had a taste of all sorts of fall festivities and also celebrated Day of the Dead for the first time, at a joint pumpkin carving/Day of the Dead celebration play date.
This American family incorporates two distinct cultures that are not their own and they all are learning Korean.
My Indian heritage has defined who I have been for most of my life, that is, until I became a mother. The business of raising children makes nearly everything else fall to the back burner.The identities of “mother” and “wife” took precedence over that of “tribal member.”
I spend a lot of time thinking about everything my children have lost. The list is long. Sometimes, however, something beautiful takes place, like it did on this sunny August day on the lake.
My six-year-old, Luca, is at the age where he is starting to understand complicated concepts in the world around him. But it is difficult for a six-year-old to understand that his father cannot travel home to China because the government does not allow him to enter the country.
Next week we are heading to the Ukraine to adopt our seventh child. I have tried to block out time from my day to study Russian, but just haven’t been able to make any progress with it.
We have a weird relationship to babies and sleep in the West. In the majority of non-Western societies, babies sleep with their parents--if not in the bed, then in the same room. So do young children. It is only in industrialized Western countries that sleep has become a compartmentalized, private affair.
When you join two cultures through marriage, like my husband and I, you know your children will live in the land between, never truly belonging to one or the other. What then for the child we adopted from Africa? How many in-betweens does she represent?
This multicultural family met in China and are raising perfectly trilingual kids in Chinese, English and Spanish in California.
Growing up brown in White America and wanting something different for your kids.
Akin to the national holiday of Quebec, Saint Jean Baptiste Day is a celebration of Francophone culture in Canada.
So, I caved! I gave my 12-year-old Ethiopian daughter a cell phone this year. As she was heading into middle school, I realized that she needed it to stay connected to us “in case of emergencies.” Well, as you can imagine, the phone has become an invisible lifeline between my sweet Grace and her friends.

Make a Snowy Owl

A popular symbol of Quebec is the snowy owl (the national bird). To celebrate St. Jean-Baptiste day, let’s make something fun and representative of Quebec.
The flashing-neon preface to this recipe is that this is our InCultureParent twist on poutine, the popular Canadian French fry specialty. Because we always try to feature healthy recipes, it didn’t feel right to us to encourage you to eat French fries, even if they are Canadian French fries. So we made our own variation...
Although I was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico to Cuban parents and am unconditionally of 100 percent Cuban descent, I have often felt somewhat disconnected from being a true Latina due to the color of my skin.

I am still thinking about language forgetting.
The issue at hand is that my daughters do not hear enough German to be able to develop a strong foundation, right?

In Israel almost everyone is Jewish, except of course for the Arabs with whom Jews rarely interact. As a Jew, if you decide to marry outside your religion or even do something as minor as celebrate a non-Jewish holiday in your own home, you experience a sense of betrayal.
This Lebanese-Mexican couple met in college and are now raising a trilingual daughter in suburban USA.
Dyeing Easter eggs is one of the most popular Easter traditions, found in many parts of the Christian world. Here's an American way to decorate eggs that I learned growing up, with the twist of using natural dyes.

Finding Aster

I began to think about Aster’s birth mother long before the nanny handed her to me. It took many months for my daughter’s biological mother not to enter into my daily thoughts. I felt such deep sadness for this child who, we were told, would never have the opportunity to know the woman who birthed her.
Our soon-to-be six year old is now taking cheerleading classes once a week after school. Her best friend S does it so we didn't even go into the "why not do some real activity?" discussion.
This Romanian-Brazilian couple met and had kids in California where they are raising their trilingual (and briefly quadrilingual) girls.
I grew up in a multicultural house. My mother was born in the Netherlands. My father, although also of Dutch heritage, was born in Indonesia and spent much of his early years split between those islands and Australia. He brought with him foods, languages, a love of large birds and a unique accent.
Growing up in a traditional Armenian home in Southern California, we had many superstitions and rituals. My mother was and still is the queen of superstition. Here are just a few of the many superstitions we followed: No whistling especially at night or evil spirits will come. No cutting your nails at night. This will shorten your life.
This interesting family speaks Dutch, Spanish, English and have a little girl who also speaks Russian.
We belong to an international Christian church that is very diverse. We are blessed to have people from all different nations available to help us with cultural differences in raising our children.

Family History

In the ten years between my wedding day and the day I met my children, I spent a lot of time fantasizing about all of the traditions we would celebrate once I finally became a mother. I didn't spend a lot of time thinking about the rituals and expressions that come along with loss and grief.
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