8 Smart Diversity Strategies

Use these tips for building cultural diversity for children in your family, community, and school.

Three children sit on a swing.

1) Integrate your child's birth culture into family life. Talk about it often. Display art reflecting your child's birth culture in your home. Go to cultural events, like concerts or dance recitals. Learn her birth-country language together.

2) Diversify your world. Go to markets and restaurants where you can eat foods from his birth culture and other cultures. Find caregivers who are of the same race as your child. Send him to culture camp.

3) Vary her literature—and yours. It's great that your child has books reflecting many backgrounds, but you should have them, too, or you may send a mixed message about the value of diversity.

[Breaking the Racial Sound Barrier]

4) Point out role models. From Mulan to Malcolm X to the immigrant family down the street, help your child recognize the strength and dignity of many people of color facing everyday life challenges.

5) Check out her classroom. Do bulletin boards reflect a diversity of cultures? Are books available that include pictures and stories of various racial groups?

6) Ask for a color-conscious curriculum. Do your child's studies cover immigration, writers of color, contributions to U.S. history by people of color, and family roles besides European-American stereotypes? Discuss this with the faculty.

7) Get ready for the ugly words. Your child will hear them; better to hear them first from you, in the context of preparing responses. This way, he'll be ready.

[Expert Audio: Growing Up as a Transracial Adoptee: What Parents Need to Know]

8) If an incident happens in school, ask what kind of teaching moment they can make out of it—a diversity awareness presentation or a talk in the classroom.

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