5 Ways Talk to Children About Hate and Discrimination

5 Ways to Fight Hate and Discrimination

  • Celebrate other cultures.

Show your support for diverse ethnic groups in your community by attending, promoting or helping fund events run by local organizations and houses of worship that bring people together: festivals, film series, guest lectures, language classes and celebrations. Bring your children.

  • Call out bigotry and hate speech.

Stigmatization is cruel and unproductive. There has been a disturbing increase in hate speech among Americans and Europeans in recent years, often blaming immigrant and minority groups for the difficulties of their own countries. If you overhear someone tell a racist joke, speak up and let them know stereotyping isn’t harmless. Let your children know they should feel free do the same. There’s nothing funny about using “humor” to normalize dangerous ideas and perpetuate ugly stereotypes.

  • Teach children kindness and how to talk about differences.

Prejudice and hate are not innate. They are learned behaviors — and they can be unlearned. Children absorb biases from the adults around them, and from the media, books and their peers. So set a good example. The process of countering negatives with positives begins at an early age. Talking about differences does not increase prejudice in children.

  • Act in solidarity — and intervene if it’s safe to do so.

When the public stands in solidarity with immigrants and marginalized groups, bullies lose their power. If you see someone being harassed or physically attacked, it is important to help if you can do so safely. Make your presence as a witness known. Make eye contact with the person being attacked and ask if they want support. Don’t escalate the situation. Verbal and physical abuse is wrong and should not be tolerated.

  • Support human rights organizations like UNICEF.

UNICEF has highlighted and advocated tirelessly for children’s rights around the globe for more than 75 years and knows that children need to be seen as children, first and foremost. It’s more important than ever that we all remain in solidarity with one another. Human rights are a collective promise made by all countries of the world, including those in distress. Children from all ethnic backgrounds — especially children who have been uprooted by violence, war and poverty — need our support, wherever they are. Every child deserves to be treated with humanity, and to grow up in a safe and healthy environment.

For more information visit unicefusa.org