Hate Hurts: How Children Learn And Unlearn Prejudice

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9780439211215: Hate Hurts: How Children Learn And Unlearn Prejudice
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Noticing differences among people is biological. At six months, an infant can distinguish skin color, hair texture, and facial features. But forming attitudes about differences is social, say Caryl Stern La Rosa and Ellen Hofheimer Bettman in this perceptive and practical book developed by the Anti-Defamation League, Hate Hurts. The authors offer a clear and compelling guide to understanding the way children learn and unlearn prejudice, suggesting hundreds of strategies, role plays, and sample dialogues for parents and teachers to shape the way children value the differences they perceive.

Prejudice--an all-too-common response to dealing with differences of race, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation--is contagious, the authors warn. They offer both the theory and the practice to teach children to "turn the fear and pain of prejudice into the courage and cooperation of understanding and respect." Insightful chapters illuminate how children see differences at various ages, from toddler to teen, and detail the tough questions they may ask.

The most powerful segments of the book are devoted to true stories that describe how to respond to children of all ages who have been the initiator or the object of hateful words and actions. For example, one section redefines "big words" (prejudice, stereotype, and discrimination) for "little people"; another tackles adolescent name-calling, exclusion, and "zooing." Specific tools for countering bias in schools, media, books, and online are underlined with conviction and clarity. Parents and teachers could not wish for a wiser guide to confront and conquer prejudice in our children and ourselves. --Barbara Mackoff

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