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As faculty, our challenge is not only to broaden student understanding of others, but to foster acceptance and appreciation which may or may not happen.If this is the case, we may require new approaches.
Later in the semester, students write an essay defining their ethnic identity, in which physical appearance is a component, so that I can see whether or not they have observed and learned the distinctions about themselves and can express them in writing.
Despite these efforts, I occasionally have experiences that make me question whether or not students have learned this.
For the past several years, I have taught History 10, Ethnicity and American Culture, at Santa Monica College. In teaching about the diversity of the American peoples, the underlying assumption is that students are learning to understand and tolerate cultural differences and accept racial and ethnic diversity.
Berkeley's American Cultures graduation requirement. As with other faculty members in California's community colleges and four-year colleges and universities, Santa Monica College faculty support exposing students to the comparative historical experiences of Native Americans, African Americans, European Americans, Asian Americans, and Latinos and Latinas.
Lyn Parker reports The ethnic, religious and linguistic diversity of Indonesia is built into the concept of Indonesia.
Under Suharto, however, it was forbidden to explore differences of class, ethnicity, "race" and religion.That is why it is imperative that children be taught that they cannot dictate what is “normal” because every person, including themselves, is distinctive in some way, and that is what makes the world so very interesting. Whether you're looking for a text, a webinar or a grab-and-go lesson, these resources will help your students explore identity and diversity, recognize injustice and learn to take action.I have certainly enjoyed many "teachable" moments, but occasionally something happens in class that causes me to question whether or not tolerance can be learned from teaching about diversity.During the first year that I taught the course, I walked into the classroom and immediately sensed something had occurred.Political elites of all stripes have played up such differences for their own advantage, leading to violent conflicts in several well-known trouble-spots around the country.Fundamentalisms of most faiths have flourished, but it has been the Islamisation of the public sphere that has attracted the most attention internationally.Many parents are friends with people from different cultural backgrounds, and an easy way for parents to teach their kids to be tolerant is to learn and share more about the heritage of their friends.A child who has not been taught to accept others for their unique qualities, not just cultural differences, will most likely bully children who he or she thinks does not conform to the “norms” of society.My students may have been responding as Americans in wartime had in the past, vilifying the Germans in World War I or the Japanese Americans in World War II or the communists in the Cold War.In other words, despite my best intentions, the current climate might be affecting their responses.