Diversity and Inclusion Efforts in Education: Visuals Matter

The rampant use of white-dominant images in children’s literature and educational resources is problematic for parents looking for quality materials for their children. This hampers the ability to give themselves a voice, not just as the protagonists of these texts but also as subjects who educate their children on what they should see.

Black and brown children need to be able to see themselves within the story lines, at all levels of society, not just in supporting or nonspeaking roles.  And they need to see people of color as the heroes and heroines of films, not just afterthoughts or cameos. Studies have shown that children whose favorite films include characters who look like them tend to be more accepting and positive about people from other races, than children for whom these films don’t reflect their world.

Hiring educators that are culturally competent is very important because they understand the culture and family history of their students. They have quality books in the classroom that depict black and brown people to students at a consistent rate. They are able provide accurate information opposed to harmful stereotypes. Cultural competence also means building trusting enough relationships with parents that they can openly discuss why their child may act out in school; or how best to raise his/her self-esteem. This knowledge is especially important when teaching students about other cultures in America, but also around the world to show them there are many different expressions in being black.

Whare are some ways you use visual media in education?

a girl watching her dad make a christmas letter

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