by Saoirse O'Mara
As a German, I have been confronted with the issue of racism very early in my life and then several times at school. German history is nothing to be proud of, for sure. It teaches us one very important lesson, however.
Racism has to be stopped before it is too late!
You might wonder what racism has to do with bullying. I'll tell you. Everything! You see, racism is probably the most extreme form of bullying. People are bashed for no other reason than their origin, their religion or their looks. It exists in every way "normal" bullying exists: name-calling, pushing around, ignoring, threatening, beating someone up.
The only difference is that racists are far harder to stop than bullies. They bully out of a deeper belief instead of out of fun. Therefore, they are prepared to take greater risks and to be punished for what they do.
If you notice any racist tendencies in children or teenagers in your environment, act at once. Try to talk to them. Ask them why they think the way they do about others. You might still have a chance to show them tolerance is a better way if they aren't too deep into the racist thinking yet. Many children and teenagers just try to find a group to which they can belong; and without guidance, they might easily end up with the wrong group.
Even more important, be tolerant yourself! Children learn from the adults around them. Check yourself: Do you have any prejudices against any group of people? If so, why do you have these prejudices? Do you show them in front of children?
You can do a great deal towards making your children to be bullies or to teaching them tolerance.