Addressing Ethnic and Religious Bias

~Combating Ethnic & Religious Bias~

Definitions of Bias

Ethnic Bias is when a group of people are discriminated or vilified against because of the country they come from, the customs follow, the clothes they wear, the language they speak, and the way they live their lives.

Religious Bias is when a group of people are discriminated against or vilified because of what they believe or do not believe.

Ethnocentrism is the belief that your culture and cultural perspective is the best.

Fighting Bias

Like all bigotry, ethnic and religious bias must be taught. Infants are not born full of hate for those who are different from them. However, they start to learn cultural differences very young. If those differences are vilified by those around them they will come to disparage them too. If they live in a family or community that accepts difference, welcomes it, and that finds the way of life of those different from them interesting and nonthreatening, those children will grow to be peace loving and welcoming to all the peoples of the world.

Teaching Cultural Acceptance

One of the hardest things about cultural and religious bias is that it is often hard to put ourselves in someone else's life experience. Everything we think and do is tinged with the cultural, language, and religion we grew up with.

Here are some Teach Peace Now activities and books to use with children to develop cultural awareness and acceptance.

Addressing Name Calling         Discussion questions for 8 children's books

Anti-Defamation League  A list of activities for addressing bias

The Golden Rule  The shared wisdom of the world's great religions

Everyone has a Point of View  Books and activities that foster understanding different viewpoints.

Suggested Children's Books that Address Bias and Foster Cultural Understanding

-A Life Like Mine UNICEF

-A School Like Mine UNICEF

-Children Just Like Mby Dorling Kingsley

Eagle Song by Joseph Bruchac

Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan

-Everyone Cooks Rice by Norah Dooley

Heart of a Chief by Joseph Bruchac

-Hey Little Ant by Phillip & Hannah Hoose

-Mirror by Jeannie Baker

-Same, Same but Different by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw

We Are All Alike We Are All Different by the Cheltenham Elementary School Kindergarten

Warriors by Joseph Bruchac

More Resources on Addressing Bias

Cultural Bias as a Cognitive Process

Cultural bias defined

Culturally Responsive Teaching A Guide for Educators

Discrimination in the Workplace An activity for high school students

Diversity and Democracy  Teaching about religion in college classrooms

Knowing Yourself  A PowerPoint for adults about addressing bias through the lens of one's own culture.

Teaching about Religious Diversity  Approaches to teaching children about other religions

Tips for Creating a Culturally Responsive Classroom A group of suggested activities


Cultural Relativism

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