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Fostering Cultural Diversity

Fostering Cultural Diversity

The world around us looks quite different than in the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s. The average American family no longer fits into a Norman Rockwell painting. Even our smallest towns now have a diverse population. Fort Bend County just southwest of Houston comes closer than any other county in the United States to having an equal division among the nation’s four major ethnic communities: 19% Asian, 24% Hispanic, 21% Black, and 36% white.

Oklahoma is also changing, although 75% of the population is white, 9.3% is Hispanic, 8.2% American Indian, and 7.6% Black. We also have a growing Middle Eastern and Pacific Islander population. When we send our children off to school, or our young adults off to college, their surroundings and environment will look a lot different from the neighborhoods they are accustomed to. This change, that can sometimes be drastic, can lead to confusion and even distress. Seeing a woman in a burqa, a child with a developmental disorder, or a man in a turban can be just as confusing and frightening to a child as seeing an African American, Asian, or Hispanic for the first time.

Teaching or explaining Cultural Competence, mental disorders, or disabilities to a young child can be challenging. Today saying “don’t stare”, or “they’re not like us”, isn’t enough, and restricting or controlling exposure in the 21st century is almost impossible. You, as parents, teach respect, honesty, integrity, and valuing their fellow man, however, teaching diversity and multicultural awareness can be challenging. Knowing not to make fun of a child with Asperger’s syndrome or Autism won’t prevent fear or apprehension; sitting next to a child diagnosed with ADD can lead to alarm and panic. Oklahoma is “mainstreaming” special -needs, disabled, and deaf children into public schools.

Let Improving Lives Counseling Services help.
Our therapists can support you and your loved ones as you adjust to Oklahoma’s rapidly changing cities and towns. In our group, family, and individual sessions, we prepare you to function in today’s multicultural, multi-ethnic environment. Diversity is a big word with a lot of meanings; counseling services can help. Call us today at 918-960-7852 or fill out our Contact Form.