Balanced Melting Pot

Value of Diversity

In Culture, Parenting, Questions, Race Relations, Thoughts on February 23, 2009 at 12:40 pm

I was reading a post on Anti-Racist Parent written by an adoptive parent who needed advice about choosing the right school for her Ethiopian-born daughter. Her dilemma was whether or not to put her 4 year-old in a school where more people looked like her or to seek out a more diverse environment.

I have to admit that a school’s diversity has always been in afterthought in where I choose to put my children. I first want to make sure that they are in an environment where they can thrive socially, emotionally and cognitively because I think at that age culture is very abstract and therefore not a priority. After reading how much thought this parent was putting into this, as well as some of the answers, I started to think maybe I was overlooking something.

In the book Inheriting the City, the author mentions that immigrants have the tendency to want cultural awareness for their children, but will place them in culturally non-diverse school because they are often seen as “the best”. While this can sound elitist, I can’t blame parents for trying to offer their children the best chances to succeed academically.

For me, by virtue of looking for the qualities above, I found that schools became less and less diverse – this may only happen in urban areas. Now, was I supposed to forego quality programs and look for others that had more of a mix? That sounds wrong to me, but let me know your thoughts.

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