Defining ‘Multicultural Education’ and the Need for It in Singapore.

Topics: Human skin color, Race and Ethnicity, Ethnic group Pages: 3 (812 words) Published: November 28, 2010
We have termed ‘Multicultural Education’ as the effort to teach people to honor cultural differences and ethnic diversity amongst themselves in order to encourage mutual respect.

During our attachment period in private and public childcare centers locally, the existence of a prevalent racial issue among the young has come to our attention, warranting our concern. Increasingly insensitive, crude and discriminatory racial remarks about ethnic groups other than their own have been heard to escape the lips of our young preschoolers at an alarming frequency and with a degree of nonchalance that is disconcerting.

A good number of young children in the local childcare scene reveal a warped impression of other races, especially those of darker skin tones, as they pass comments such as, “Eee... Indians are so smelly,” or create verses to juvenile games like, “A, E, I, O, U; ‘Mangkali’ (referring to Indians) love you!”

Dr. Darlene Powell Hopson, co-author of Different and Wonderful: Raising Black Children in a Race-Conscious Society explains that because of their advancing perceptual skills, children are increasingly able to recognize the apparent outward differences in people- varying skin tones, facial and bodily features, hair textures, and eye colors. With this enhancing perceptual ability follows the development of children’s individual character. As each child’s sense of identity and interpersonal skills begin to mature, his individual preferences, likes and dislikes, as well as his own opinions begin to form and become established in him. A sense of autonomy naturally unfolds along with the urge to exercise and assert this newfound personal right to make one’s own views heard and known. This implies that the child will begin to form opinions and judgments of a person based firstly on the most obvious aspect of the other party- the outward appearance. The child will decide if what he sees appears pleasing to his eyes. Because preschoolers also develop a...
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