…teach me not to hate. Teach me the lie and shame of racism [because] it hurts all people. Teach me to learn from you and to learn about me…
Inspirational words from the Center for the Healing of Racism that should be the guiding light enshrined in our national curriculum for schools (opetussuunnitelma) concerning cultural diversity.
What is our aim when we speak of integration of elementary school students?
Is the goal of the teacher to convert these students into ”white Finns” or to socially exclude them by pointing out how different they are? Is the aim between these two extremes?
Identity is a personal matter. Who you are depends on who you think you are. If some have a problem with this, it should be viewed as their problem, not yours.
Social exclusion is like a toxic poison. If you take away a child’s identity at an early age by seeing no worth in his ethnicity and background, you’ll end up undermining his or her self-esteem. People with low self-esteem do poorly at school.
Low self-esteem is a factor behind prejudice as well, according to a study published by Psychological Science.
In the same way as racism is costly to society, it can impair children’s learning abilities, according to a study by Essex University.
Even if Finland has become more culturally diverse from the 1990s, the biggest mistake we can make – in my opinion – is forgetting the importance of diversity and values such as mutual acceptance and respect.
Thus Finnish schools should teach their students that we are more alike than different..the lie and shame of racism because it hurts all people.
It should teach student the value of their culture and the culture of others.