View this email in your browser

Connect with Kids  

February 2016


Moving From Tolerance to Acceptance to Understanding

“Tolerance and/or acceptance are desirable, but they are not a substitute for understanding. They are relevant for getting along with others in the world (though understanding helps), but understanding is essential for the social and behavioral sciences.”  Dr. Jefferson M. Fish 
In our ever increasingly diverse world it is no longer sufficient to only be tolerant of those who differ from us. Tolerance does create peace, and it does define
the rules for appropriate behavior, but tolerance implies co-existence without meaningful interaction. It makes no demands on anyone to communicate, learn from, or work with others. Jefferson M. Fish PhD gives a concrete explanation of why both tolerance and acceptance are important to master:

Acceptance builds on tolerance by adding the most basic of interactions
with others in requiring us to be “agreeable.” Acceptance means settling for something, as if one has come to terms with the fact that the ‘others’ are not going away, so just deal with the fact that they are here. It still makes no demands on anyone to have any deep communications, and working together is usually impersonal or indifferent.
Once we tolerate and accept others, we can begin to understand those
who are different from us. Understanding offers enormous opportunities to learn, grow, and experience the changing world, benefiting us culturally, economically, and personally. Understanding and making the effort to understand others makes us smarter people, it opens doors of opportunity, and improves our problem solving skills. Truly, it is the only way we will survive and flourish in the 21st Century.
In her Ted Talk Speech “Color Brave,” CEO Mellody Hobson challenges us to be brave, to reach out to understand someone of another race, someone who is different. She says, 

"I'm actually asking you to do something really simple: observe your environment, at work, at school, at home. I'm asking you to look at the people around you purposefully and intentionally. Invite people into your life who don't look like you, don't think like you, don't act like you, don't come from where you come from, and you might find that they will challenge your assumptions and make you grow as a person. You might get powerful new insights."

If we want our world to be a better place, if we want to create a better world for our children, if we want to grow socially, intellectually, economically, we must find opportunities to not just tolerate, not just accept, but understand—and ultimately embrace—the differences that make us part of America.

Talking to our children, no matter the age, about diversity and prejudice is extremely challenging; however, having a ‘courageous conversation’ or a ‘color brave conversation’ today will reap rewards in the future.

Experts from The Leadership Conference offer suggestions for activities as well as advice for conducting honest conversations with your children about the challenges of living in a diverse world, how to build understanding, and language to start those conversations. 
  • Visit museums that feature works of art and historical artifacts from other cultures, and ask questions of docents and other museum workers when you find something you don’t understand.
  • Be respectful in the language you use and expect children to use when talking about race or any other differences.
  • Attend a religious service with friends of another faith and/or invite others to share yours.  Talk about the religious symbols you see in your neighborhood and discuss the history of those symbols.
  • Volunteer at a soup kitchen or a shelter or participate in a food or clothing drive.
  • Volunteer with an organization for people with special needs such as Special Olympics or Best Buddies.
  • Attend cultural festivals, dine at restaurants that serve food of different cultures, and remember to honor your own culture or heritage.
  • Remember: people are more than their ethnicity, gender, race, religion, socio-economic level, or special need or disability.

 Vocabulary of Diversity

Sometimes people simply do not know how to talk about differences.  To that end, the list below explains some of the vocabulary of diversity and how to talk about it.
According to the Leadership Conference, Ethnicity refers to how people are grouped according to a shared culture or history and is often referred to as a person’s ‘roots’. 
  • Talk about history and social context, and use the correct words when talking about a person’s ethnicity. 
Gender, historically, has referred to a person’s biological sex: male or female. The definition has been expanded to include gender identity, the way a person defines himself or herself: “male, female, or transgender” 
  • Explain how talking about people or knowing people who are LGBTQA (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender, Questioning, Asexual OR Ally) will not make anyone gay or straight.

Race is an historic classification of human beings based on a combination of physical characteristics such as skin color, facial form, eye shape, and other genetic markers. Some historians believe that the natural geography of the world separated humans by race. Others suggest society itself formed the races, breaking people into groups according to their physical characteristics, their ancestral backgrounds, and/or their shared cultures.  
  • Rather than being ‘color blind,’ talk respectfully about race.  Race is a point of pride for people.  Use objective, observational language rather than subjective, opinionated words.        
Religion is how people relate to and set up a belief or faith system in order 
to explore their place in the universe.
  • Ask young people to think about what it would be like to be a member of another religious organization.
Socio-Economic relates to a person’s level of class in society based on how much money the person makes, his/her occupation, education, and/or place of residence
  • Children as young as age five ARE aware and DO notice economic differences.  Speak openly and encourage young people to find out more about the person, not what the person owns or wears.
Special Needs is a clinical diagnostic term used to describe people who need assistance for disabilities. A disability is a mental or physical condition that limits life activities such as walking, talking, seeing, hearing, interactions with others, or learning.
  • Use person first language and refrain from using the ‘r’ word when talking about people with special needs.  Say, “the girl with downs syndrome,” or “the boy who uses a wheelchair.” 
Learn More:
Back-to-School Worries for Gay Parents

Color Brave, A Ted Talk

Education Gap Between Rich and Poor Is Growing Wider

How to Talk About Other Religious Traditions to Your Kids

How Will Our Kids Interpret Their World? Short Answer: Through Us

Making the Case Against Color Blind Casting

Osceola At The 50-Yard Line

Race and Class Collide in a Plan for Two Brooklyn Schools

'Racial Mismatch' Changes Teacher Expectations for Students, Study Finds

Talking with Kids about LGBT Issues

Teaching Your Child about Peers with Special Needs: Disability awareness, compassion, and making friends in the classroom

Who Benefits from Less Segregated Schools? You Might Add White Kids To The List

Why I Let My Kids Talk To Strangers

Why we must talk to young children about economic inequality
Wisconsin is a paradise for white kids, but a hell for black kids
To purchase Parenting Guides & DVD's on this topic and others, please contact or our offices at
Copyright © *|2016* *|CWK Network Inc.|*, All rights reserved.

To learn more about CWK please contact Angela Tagliareni:

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 
Connect with Kids is based out of Atlanta, Georgia and has been in business for over 15 years.  We own one of the nation’s largest evidence-based, non-fiction video libraries on student behavior and parent engagement and address issues such as bullying and violence prevention, character and life skills, attendance and achievement, health and wellness, digital citizenship, drug and alcohol prevention and college and career readiness.   Our company works with school districts to assess their needs in these areas and builds custom websites with video programs; lesson plans and parent resources that are accessible to the entire community including all parents.  Connect with Kids is listed as an Effective Producer of Programs on the U.S. Department of Education's What Works Clearinghouse List and is also listed on the  Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) and the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP).