I don't know you, but I hate you!
Small children don’t care who belongs to what groups. Are you nice with me, do you play with me or not? That’s it. Later they learn it from us adults to greet older people differently, not to eat too much candy in order not to become ugly fat and not to stare at disabled people on the street. We teach them our prejudices slowly and also the things that shouldn’t be asked.
At the time they go to school most children will never be in a situation where they can honestly speak with disabled, gay or Roma people. They might hear something about them in the TV, from the parents, friends or at school.
Fear and disgust can develop in anyone without proper understanding. A number of questions can arise, which neither the teacher nor the friend or the father can answer. If the students cannot meat flesh-and-blood people who happen to be disabled, gay or Roma the stereotypes and prejudices can grow easily: disabled people are miserable and helpless who have to be pitied; the Roma are lazy folks, who don’t want to learn while most homosexuals molest children and you shouldn’t even talk to them!
But there are volunteers who believe it is important to talk to each other without taboos. They visit schools where they hold classes to tell their own stories and openly answer any questions about themselves or the group they belong to. There is no book that could replace personal encounters and conversations.
The Hungarian EEA/Norwegian NGO Fund has supported several programs that bring the questions of diversity in the class rooms. This short film covers a few of these (with English subtitle).