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Most children have integrated friendship groups say researchers

The Local · 9 Oct 2010, 12:17

Published: 09 Oct 2010 12:17 GMT+02:00

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Education researchers from the University of Würzburg questioned nearly 1,000 first-graders in Bavaria and Hamburg, about their friends.

Around 60 percent said they were friends with children from other ethnicities, according to results reported in Der Spiegel.

Those children in the survey who came from immigrant families showed what the researchers described as a ‘high level of cultural openness', with about 80 percent saying they had at least one friend whose parents come from a different country from themselves.

Of the German first-graders in the survey, 40 percent said they had a friend with an ‘immigration background'.

Of these, more than 67 percent said they visited those friends at home.

“This study shows that children are much more advanced in integration than the public discussion,” said Thomas Rachel, Christian Democratic Union parliamentary state secretary in the education ministry.

Friendships between children of different backgrounds also had a positive effect on their parents.

“These children are the vanguard of integration” said Rachel.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

17:58 October 9, 2010 by wood artist
The simple fact is that children don't care about such things. They either like or dislike another child, and race, gender, ethnicity, and other similar attributes aren't big deciders. Too bad older people can't be as open.

In the musical South Pacific, Oscar Hammerstein II wrote the song that says it all:

You've got to be taught

before it's to late

to hate all the people

your relatives hate

You've got to be taught

to hate and fear

you've got to be carefully taught!

Maybe the "teaching" at home creates the very conditions we deplore.

19:15 October 9, 2010 by Maurice45
I do not believe that the figures given include children with religious Muslim parents because most children with religious Muslim background are not allowed from their parent¦#39;s side to visit their non-Muslim peers out of fear that they get in contact with things "haraam" by their religion. For this very same reason, Muslim parents often don't allow their children to visit German kindergartens or, later, to take part in overnight school trips. This is especially the case for Turkish children with religious parents . . . while Iranian parents are usually much more open and secular. This is maybe because most Iranians fled from an Islamist society and don't want their children to suffer the same.
10:07 October 10, 2010 by tallady
I have a first grader and she sees no color or ethnicity ,, in her class where there are a variety of different cultures present. I believe it was T.S. Eliot that said "prejudice has to be carefully taught". Parents and teachers are the key,,children just want to get along...we all should be for that...
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