Acceptance imperative for nation’s future

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I am a future high school educator. It will soon be part of my career to share with my students some of the most beautiful and terrible things about the world. One of these many beautiful things is acceptance.

For those of who need a history lesson, this great country of ours was created on the foundation that all people are equal. The Founders wanted the freedom to practice their preferred religion, separate from the English church. This was one of the many steps that led our country to where it is today.

But do you recall the other details of our country’s past? With more Europeans traveling to North America came an onslaught of bloodshed. Hundreds of thousands of Native Americans were massacred, and European Christians who believed they were making our new country a more civilized place nearly wiped out an entire culture and system of belief.

These same European Christians also ransacked villages in Africa and stole entire families from their homes. They were brought to our new country and dehumanized, enslaved to the European Christians. Because of this chapter in our history, an entire race of people has been raised by our society to believe they are less than what they truly are: Humans, like the rest of us.

When discussing religion in any setting, especially in my position in the classroom, we need to understand that there are radicals of every religion.

We cannot judge every Muslim by what a few people do and what religion they claim. The three Muslim exchange students who attended Wa-Hi this past year enriched our community with their presence and allowed our students to see a different perspective of this culture.

Should each religion, both Muslim and Christian, be judged as a whole by the actions of a few?

We need to accept our neighbors’ differences and leave our schemas behind. Acceptance will lead us past the ignorance of the few who believe otherwise.

Bernadette Williams

Walla Walla

Comments

fatherof5 9 months ago

Nice letter.

I had to look up "schemas." Turns out it's a good word choice. Here's what I found: "A schema is a cognitive framework or concept that helps organize and interpret information. Schemas can be useful because they allow us to take shortcuts in interpreting the vast amount of information that is available in our environment. However, these mental frameworks also cause us to exclude pertinent information to instead focus only on things that confirm our pre-existing beliefs and ideas. Schemas can contribute to stereotypes and make it difficult to retain new information that does not conform to our established ideas about the world."

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Jo99362 9 months ago

Not only do we need to learn about our country's beginnings of massacring each other and other ethnicities, but also how a generation of people in the 60s & 70s changed society. I still firmly believe that schools should require "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee" for reading before graduation, how it relates to the current trend of racism. We are slowly repeating history in a more modern way and to more people, its not about white versus everyone, its becoming "me" versus "everybody else." Where does all this hate come from?

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paco1234 9 months ago

Jo99362, this hate does come from ignorance, covert fears and from character weaknesses. The good news is that these flaws are reversible...and that's the job of Bernadette as an educator; and our job as citizens at large, who are concerned about reconciling our common humanity.

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barracuda 9 months ago

Re: Should each religion, both Muslim and Christian, be judged as a whole by the actions of a few? .

Lets take this one step further.... .

What about gun owners? Should a few idiots with guns pave the way to our future?

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VinoTinto 9 months ago

It takes so much energy to hate, and hardly any energy to accept and get on with life.

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