Monday, 23 March 2015

Guest Post: Tackling Hate and Discrimination For Future Generations.


I heard about a new children's book recently and sadly didn't have time to review and write about it but I'm really happy to share this guest post from the books author. Here Emma Leverton shares with us some ideas of how we can raise our children to help ensure they do not become prejudged. No child is born with prejudice and the concept creator Bobby Thandi hopes that Fly Guys will help to ensure no child develops it.

Fly Guys: Monday Madness tells the fun story of two unlikely best friends, a fly called Fuzz and 5-year-old Alice. Their mop-based adventure to the moon is brought crashing back to Earth when Alice’s Dad attempts to swat Fuzz.  When Fuzz asks Alice why her Dad hates flies, the story takes a thoughtful turn and raises questions about difference, diversity and friendship.

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Hate crimes. Racism. War. Injustice. Hate and discrimination exists in multiple forms and on all corners of the globe, but what can we do to tackle it? It’s understandable that people can feel helpless in the face of what seems like such a grim reality, but just because you can’t single-handedly prevent the war in Syria or end starvation in Africa doesn’t mean that you can’t make your positive mark on society. By quelling the spread of hate and discrimination in our day to day lives, we can pave a new direction for future generations. Be it in a small or big way, through tackling discrimination you too can send a message that certain forms of behaviour, aggression and hostility are unacceptable and encourage a happier, peaceful society for the future.

Spread the love
I believe that the first step to preventing hate and discrimination is to take note from our 1960’s forbearers. Spread the love a little. Give up your seat on the bus. Help carry an old persons shopping. Smile and say ‘Good Morning’ to a stranger. For a bigger impact, pledge a random act of kindness every week, month or year. There are some great examples of what people have been getting up to here. Fuzz and Alice, the main characters in Fly Guys Monday Madness, demonstrate to children that we can be friends with those who are different to us.

Call out negative stereotypes
One of the primary ways hate and discrimination is harboured is through bigotry. Allowing negative and unfair statements to be a part of our discussions on minority groups for example, entrenches this discrimination into our society. The next time you hear someone being rude to others, stand up to them like Alice does in Fly Guys when Fuzz is being mistreated.

Contribute to your local community
There are plenty of grassroots movements throughout the country that do what they can to help their local community and increase cohesion. Read your regional news paper or contact your local Church to find out about causes near you and get involved. Some great causes around my area include The Real Junk Food Project, Equality Leeds and Leeds Children’s Charity.

Talk about it
Don’t brush hatred under the carpet- ignoring problems doesn’t make them go away. Share your hopes and fears and don’t shy away from both learning and talking about some of the bigger examples of hatred and discrimination with your little ones. Reading Fly Guys to your children is a perfect way to start this conversation.

Don’t let children be victims of prejudice
If we allow children to be pigeonholed based on things like religion, class, colour, creed or disability, they too can become a victim of prejudice and hate. No child is born with prejudice, and if children don’t experience an environment of love and equality, we’re perpetuating the problem for generations to come.

Education, education, education
One key thing that we can do to prevent hatred and prejudice in the years to come is to educate our children so that they can learn to understand, love and respect difference and diversity. Expose children to different cultures, religions and backgrounds. Encourage them to mix with all kinds of children, and get them watching television shows and reading books that hold the message you want to share with them. Mandip Sahota, Private Secretary to Minister of State at Foreign & Commonwealth Office for the UK Government, says that FlyGuys is one such children’s book that can help tackle hatred and prejudice.At a time when we hear reports of prejudice on the increase, the challenge is how to promote equality. Fly Guys is a fun story with a reassuring reminder – children are not born with prejudice.”

The book’s creator Bobby Thandi said “Fly Guys helps parents and teachers to broach the tricky subject of prejudice. The main challenge was writing a book that deals with prejudice in a fun yet effective way to engage children. No child is born with prejudice and I’d love to keep it that way."

We all have to work within our limited parameters to improve the situations around us. This is why, in our day to day actions, we must treat others with love and respect regardless of differences. I am very fortunate indeed to be able to share my passion for equality with children through the Fly Guys Series. I can act in accordance with my own will, exercise my love and compassion for others, and share it with those willing to listen. The more people who realise that they too, can make a difference by tackling hate and discrimination, the better a place this world will become.

Emma Leverton is an Author, Freelance Writer and Editor from Yorkshire, UK. The Fly Guys stories are her first book series. Monday Madness is available to buy on Amazon. You can see more of what she gets up to at www.writesaidlev.com


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