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At the urging of a colleague, here are few “how tos” for doing race relations using ‘rev’:

  1. Read about other races (their culture, customs, sensitivities, history, etc.); read books/works by people of other races and discuss appropriate material with kids.  Oftentimes our fear or hesitancy is rooted in ignorance or not knowing.  I’ve learned that all white people are not evil (this was indirectly taught to me); and white people have learned that I don’t carry a knife (a white person at the University of Kansas thought that all black people carry a knife.  Absurd!)
  2. Engagepeople of other races.  This is getting easier I think because people of other cultures, ethnicities and races are moving right next door.  Find common interests as a ‘door way’ into their lives.  For example, my neighbor is from India.  Our common interest is our lawns.  We both are vigilant to keep weeds away.  This common interest allows us to talk on occasion.  One day I hope to invite my neighbor and his family for dinner.  Other ways to find common interests is to go where ‘they are’ (festivals, art exhibits, plays, etc.).  For example, the Black Repertory Theater of St. Louis has a regular line up of plays featuring black actors/actresses.
  3. View films and/or TV programming that portray people of other races together with your kids or other couples and discuss.  What is true about the portrayal?  What is false?  What sterotypes am I guilty of?  How was I challenged by what I viewed?  Show I write a letter to the producer to commend the work and/or to express my displeasure?

By giving these 3 ideas does not suggest that this is easy as 1-2-3.  Most things that are difficult will take awhile.  Race relations certainly fits in this category.  There is much awful history to overcome in this area; but I am hopeful!

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