Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Times-They are a changin'

In case you have been under a rock for the past five years or so, our country is undergoing a massive sea change in our demographic composition. We saw the inklings in the 2000 US Census, but the mid-term Census report is even more dramatic.

These few statistics should be enough to get you thinking about what you are doing with your kids to ensure that they are able to 'play nice in the sandbox' with their peers?

Take a look:
1. Within just a few years, the New York metropolitan region — which includes the nearby counties in New York, Connecticut and New Jersey — is projected to become the first large metropolitan Non-Hispanic whites are a minority

2. Asians were the only major ethnic or racial group to record population growth in
every county in the New York Metro area.

And New York is not alone:
1. Four states - California, Texas, Hawaii, and New Mexico - are already 'majority-minority' states.

2.Nearly one in every 10 of the nation's 3,141 counties has a population in which multicultural groups comprise more than 50% of the total.

3. Los Angeles County's minority population is now larger than the state populations of each of 38 states.

No matter what your kids look like, where they live or who they hang out with, one thing is for sure-the landscape isn't going to look like it did when you were growing up. In addition to the pressures-like 24/7 communication and information-our kids face, they are going to have to be able to view people-all people for what they are about and not what they look like, where they were born or what language they speak.

Our country has shifted from the Great Melting Pot, to the Great Salad bowl. Today, each person retains his own distinct flavor-rather than try and meld and blend into a generic American. As your children develop their own unique flavor they are going to have to make sure that it can exist side-by-side with others who may have different 'flavors'.

What we do today to help our children to understand and respect everyone is up to us.

The staple of childhood, Goldfish, has an ad with a headline that reads: How children see the world depends on what WE teach them.

There are so many opportunities to talk about what we share and how we are different from other people-you can use the 2008 Olympics to begin a conversation about China and how it has changed and what that means to us-today. You can choose books and toys, games and puzzles that show kids authentic representations of people from all over the world. You can point out that career stereotypes are just that-stereotypes, there are plenty of male nurses, secretaries and teachers as well as female doctors, engineers and deep sea divers.

The opportunity to give out kids the gift of tolerance starts now-with us.

With respect,

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