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toward EQUALITY : EXPLORING A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE : RECOGNIZING DIVERSITY : A Resource for Parents and Teachers to Fight Prejudice, Build Pride, Respect Diversity

February 13, 1989|PAULA POINDEXTER-WILSON and MARY ELLEN HOUSE

According to research, children first learn prejudice from their parents. This happens around age 5.

By age 7, children begin to mimic their parents' racial attitudes and behavior. And by age 9, most of their racial attitudes and behavior are fully developed.

How children feel and act toward racial, ethnic and religious minority groups is a direct result of what they learn from their parents, child-care providers, teachers, grandparents, aunts and uncles, peers and the media.

We have developed this resource, which includes quizzes, activities and ideas, to help parents and teachers do something about reducing prejudice and its effects.

As a result of working through this guide, we hope parents and teachers will gain a greater awareness so that discrimination and prejudice are not taught to children in homes and in schools.

We hope that parents of racial and ethnic children will be better able to teach their children coping skills they can use when confronted with prejudice and discrimination.

We hope that teachers will have better skills and more resources to use as they work toward bringing equality to the classroom.

Finally, we hope that all people will have a greater appreciation and respect for the diverse cultures that are woven into the fabric of our Southern California community.

DID YOU KNOW?

Roger Wilkins, a senior research fellow at the Washington-based Institute for Policy Studies, says, "One of the central issues of American racism is denial--denial that it exists, denial that it is as bad as it is, denial that ... people are injured by it." The following questions, which are based on news reports, are aimed at making parents and teachers more aware that prejudice and discrimination are real and growing problems. 1. According to the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission, in 1985 the number of racially and religiously motivated acts of vandalism and violence in the county:

A. Fell by 10%.

B. Were unchanged.

C. Climbed by 82%.

The correct answer is C. Incidents included the firebombing of an interracial couple's automobile, an ethnically motivated assault against an Arab at his place of work and numerous instances of swastikas painted on Jewish property and KKK slogans on property owned by blacks. As a result, Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley called for closer police reporting and monitoring by LAPD of such hate crimes.

2. The Glendale Police Department's first black officer testified in 1987 that he was greeted with the following at a party for rookies who had passed probation:

A. A cross-burning.

B. Racial epithets.

C. A warm welcome.

The correct answer is A. Ronald E. Jenkins testified before the state Workers' Compensation Board that the cross-buring and other incidents of discrimination forced him to take disability leave from the force.

3. In Huntington Park in 1984, Latino employees at the Municipal Court were required to speak Spanish to the public when necessary. In their dealings with co-workers, they:

A. Were encouraged to speak Spanish or English.

B. Were prohibited from speaking Spanish.

C. Were required to teach Spanish on their breaks.

The correct answer is B. The English-only rule, imposed after passage of a statewide English-only initiative, was barred by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which said it contributed to a workplace atmosphere that discriminates against Latinos and heightens racial animosity.

4. In many universities--both large and small, liberal and conservative--throughout the United States, incidents of racism on campus over the last two years have:

A. Increased.

B. Stayed the same.

C. Decreased.

The correct answer is A. College campuses have not proven to be havens from bigotry--from cross-burnings to hate-stained graffiti and even to physical assaults. Even more widespread are subtle forms of racism--such as condescension and standoffishness from Anglo professors--that minority students confront daily.

5. More than 90% of all senior management posts in corporate America and public school administration positions nationwide are held by:

A. Anglo men and women.

B. Anglo and minority men.

C. Anglo men.

The correct answer is C. Anglo men hold 97% of all senior management jobs. Studies have foundthat women managers often get less prestigious assignments and supervise fewer workers than do men. Minority managers often get positions that don't lead to senior management. In public education, 95% of school principals and district superintendents are Anglo men, according to a study by the National Center for Education Information.

6. Los Angeles County has the largest urban population nationwide of American Indians. Why are they called the silent minority of Los Angeles County?

A. They do not form tight urban communities, making it difficult to voice concerns.

B. They are too small in number and too scattered to effectively fight discrimination.

C. They are often mistaken for another race.

D. All of the above

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