We All Have Implicit Biases: Here’s How Not to Pass Them On to Your Kids

Guest Writer: Kevin Christofora – http://thehometownallstars.com/


Most parents will (and should) agree: it’s important to teach our children about acceptance. That’s true no matter where you live, but it’s really essential when you’re based somewhere with a diverse population. The Detroit area was already home to one of the largest populations of Arab Americans in the U.S., and now that Michigan has taken in over 2,000 Syrian refugees, it’s even more importan
that inhabitants of Middle Eastern descent feel welcome. 

This is where things can get tricky— because consciously, we might be all for accepting others. But our subconscious minds might have other ideas: we might have biases we barely even know about on a conscious level. These can be in regard to Syrian refugees, or people of entirely different ethnic, religious, or cultural backgrounds; we all have biases. What’s worse: if we’re not careful, we can pass them on to our kids.

Implicit biases aren’t necessarily the most harmful thing; overt biases or prejudices are definitely more troublesome. However, it’s best to combat these as much as possible. Children are perceptive: they pick up on small shifts in tone of voice, or vague preference we may give to a thing or person more “like us”— in whatever way that may be. It’s important to actively celebrate difference, in the people around us, as well as our environment. This way, we can encourage our children to embrace all kinds of people and points of view, and teach them that “different” doesn’t mean “bad.”

It can be natural to meet what we don’t understand with trepidation. However, try building a habit of curiosity instead. Find out more: go to cultural festivals, fairs, and even places of worship that aren’t your own to engage and learn. Choose books from diverse writers or ones that tackle issues like acceptance for bedtime stories. Find joy in finding out more about other points of view and ways of life without tokenizing or making it a spectacle. Instead, approach this learning by acknowledging differences, then figuring out what’s the same— does the refugee child in your kid’s class love art class as much as they do? Does the new family on the block observe a different religion, but bond over board games just like yours? What’s different might be more noticeable, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a wealth of similarities to be found.

Kevin Christofora
Christofora, a father and little league coach, hopes his books will inspire children to play outside more often. A devotee of America’s pastime, he aims to teach young people about baseball and the habits of a healthy lifestyle in the form of a fun and educational bedtime story.

He has appeared on ABC News, ESPN Radio, 660 News Radio, Santa Fe – KVSF 101.5, and WDST-FM Woodstock, and has had articles featured in About Families Online, KidzEdge, Mom Blog Society, and several other publications.

For more information, please visit http://thehometownallstars.com/

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