Important Values: Diversity

4 Things I’ve Read Recently

1. Three out of five teenagers say that being with people of different races and ethnicities is important to them.1
2. About half of kids today say they would continue being friends with someone who came out as gay or lesbian.2 That compares with only 12 percent of kids who said the same thing in 1989.3
3. Young people from minority groups are more open to diversity than kids from majority groups.4 While 68 percent of Asian, 66 percent of Hispanic, and 65 percent of African American young people value diversity, only 55 percent of Caucasian young people do.5
4. Diversity is valued more by girls than boys (63 percent of girls versus 55 percent of boys).6

Here’s My Take on It:

My kids are growing up in a more diverse world than I did. They have friends of different races, ethnicities, religious beliefs, sexual orientations, socioeconomic statuses, and abilities. They talk more freely about what their friends are going through (such as one struggling with an eating disorder and another having trouble managing Attention Deficit Disorder). They have a deep concern for their classmates—no matter what their peers are going through.

This doesn’t mean, however, that they believe that “anything goes.” They have a strong moral code in addition to valuing the unique differences of each person. I graduated from a high school class of 425 with one racial minority. My classmates and I tended to stick very close to people who were most like us. In doing so, we missed out on a lot. I admire my kids for being open to people who are different from them, for standing up for what they believe, and for seeing people for who they are deep inside rather than the stereotypical labels we place on them.

Talk Further

Ask your child: “Which groups of people do you feel most comfortable with? The least comfortable with? Why? Which minority groups do you feel are discriminated against the most?”

Explore Further

  • “Read more about the study mentioned in this article from the Girl Scout Research Institute”:

http://www.girlscouts.org/research/publications/girlleadership/good_inte….

How can we help our kids to value the rich diversity of people in our world today? Post your comments below.

Footnotes

1. Girl Scout Research Institute, Good Intentions: The Beliefs and Values of Teens and Tweens Today (New York: Girl Scouts of the USA, 2009), 19.
2-6. Ibid.

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