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Unfortunately, I do not know that we can prevent our youth from discrimination, prejudice or violence, but we can certainly help them to learn right from wrong. I think that prejudice will always exist, in some form, no matter what we do. However, I agree with the posts that say we need to model good behavior and teach the youth about good character. Personally, I did not have the best role models growing up, but in spite of that, or because of that, I am very aware that everyone is an individual and has a right to be treated that way. No one should be "lumped" into a certain category because of their skin color, race or religion. Lastly, I think that as teachers, we can help our students to understand what it feels like to be the one discriminated against or pre-judged...then maybe, they will not do it in the future.
My mother and father taught me to respect all people and to accept and appreciate differences in others. I taught my children the same lesson in life. Now, my children are teaching their children to respect others and accept and even appreciate differences in others. It is a cycle that I hope will always continue. Parents are responsible for teaching (modeling) the correct behavior towards others.
I think setting an example for others is the best way we can prevent children from carrying on these traits. Children do as they see, not necessarily what they are told so parents, teachers, and other adults in their lives have the biggest influence in their lives to help them see that they should not do these things even if they see it on TV or others doing so.
Part of moving away from stereotyping and discrimination is learning to use language that does not identify categorical differences and instead emphasizes difference as nuance, not as category.
This is not an easy task, but if we want to eliminate discrimination we have to try to erase the catagorizing influence of the language we use.
It has to start at the home, and parents are responsible for many of the opinions and attitudes that their children develop. Teachers can also set an example, but a child's parents are their greatest influence.
Education and example - children learn what they are taught and what they see. If parents premit violent video games and don't help children to understand the difference between pretend and reality (in which people are hurt and die); if movies and popular culture continue to glamorize violence through special effects that become more destructive and gory with every new release; if we as a society don't make an effort to stop prejudice - they won't stop. To work on preventing such things, then, we need to start teaching compassion, concern for others, respect, caring for ourselves and others.
I think that the best thing we can do is teach them that these things are not acceptable. It is so easy to just accept that this is the way the world works. It does not have to be. It is up to adults to teach thier children that the world can be a better place.
If you are asking about preventing them from being prejudiced, the best way to do this is to model a lack of prejudice for them. We as parents and teachers have to show our kids/students (more by example than by simply talking at them) that people of all races, religions, etc., need to be treated the same.
Don't grow up in America, for one. Also teaching your child the responsibility to see such things, but not pick them up for themselves. Then maybe the child would not do such things.
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