Youth are morelikely to grow uphealthy when they have knowledge of and comfort with people of different cultural racial ethnicbackgrounds.
What Are Assets?
Assets are40 values,experiences, and qualities that helpkids succeed.“Cultural com- petence”is oneof five social-competenciesassets.
* Based on Search Institutesurveys of 217,277 6th- to12th-grade youth throughout theUnited States during the1999–2000 school year.
n a perfect world,we would allknow and feel comfortablewith people of a wide variety of cultural,ethnic,and racial backgrounds.
We would have caringrelationships with manydifferentpeople.Wewould participate in a varietyofculturalcustoms. Yeteven in communities thatare diverse interms ofethnicity,race,and culture,themajorityofpeople spend time with peoplewho looklike them,thinklike them,and oftenactjustlike them.Manypeople do this,not because theyare prejudiced,butbecause they don’tknowhowto begin reaching outtopeople who are “different.”However,even ifyou feel uncomfortableinteracting with people from races,religions,and cultures differentfrom yourown,yourchild is growing up in a world thatis morediverse racially,economically,religiously,linguistically,and in otherways,than theworld you grewup in.As adults theywill needto have skills to workwith people from a wide varietyofbackgrounds and perspectives.“Cultural competence”doesn’tmean thatweall have to like each other.Itdoes mean thatwe treateach otherwith respect,tolerance,and equality.Itmeans we strive tounderstand othercultures,and perhaps cometo appreciate and value them.Itmeans wewantto learn aboutthe values,perspectives,andideas ofpeople who are differentfrom us.Before yourchild can feel competentdealing with people ofvarious cultures,yourchild firstneeds to develop an ethnicawareness and cultural identityofherorhisown.What’s yourfamily’s ethnic heritage?Howdo you feel aboutit?Do you celebrate it? When you listen to stories from yourfamily history,whathave you heard abouthowyourancestors viewed and lived with people whowere differentfrom them?“The waywe feel aboutourselves and thewaywe reactto racism mayreflectassumptions thatare centuries old,”say Darlene Powell Hopson,Ph.D.,and DerekS.Hopson,Ph.D.,clinical psychologists andauthors.With yourchild,explore yourfeelingsaboutpeople who are differentfrom you.Talk aboutwhere yourcultural competencies arestrong and where theyneed some nurturing.Togetheryou can fostera sense ofculturalcompetence in each memberofyourfamily.
Easy Ways to Build Assets for and with Your Child
4 2 %
o f you t hsurveyed bySearchIns t i t u t e have t his asse t in t heir l ives. *
Tips that make building cultural competence with your child easier: • Examine images that television, movies, and books project of people of various cul- tures. Discuss what’s authentic, what’s stereotypical, and how you can determine the difference.• Together learn words from another language.• Avoid making stereotypical comments and challenge those made by others.• Know your roots and share your pride in your culture with others.
Quick T i p:Ex pose y our childr en to aw ide v ar iet y of peo ple.
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