Embrace diversity, learn about the world
Monday, November 15, 2010 - 12:39 pm

To the Editor:

I am writing this letter because lately I have been thinking about the different cultures and traditions that exist in the world. I am fascinated by how others view the world around them and how people explain and celebrate the world that exists.

In America we like to believe ourselves to be open minded and diverse. I do believe this to be true for the most part, however, there doesn’t seem to be an emphasis on learning about other cultures and practices. I have been thinking about these things because recently a very good friend of mine celebrated Diwali. She is from India and I had the pleasure of being invited to her house for celebration. I did my own research and I have learned Diwali is known as the festival of lights. It is the celebration of good over evil. This celebration lasts five days and each day is a celebration of something different.

Also recently the Mexican people celebrated Dia de los Muertos which is the celebration honoring loved ones who have passed on. I am Mexican American and although I do not celebrate this holiday it is important for me to know about it and know why it exists.

Too often I am caught up in my own mind and the everyday hubbub of life. My friend asked me recently why I do not take as much interest in her holidays as she does American holidays. She stated that I would be hurt if she did not say Merry Christmas or Happy Thanksgiving and that I should give her the same courtesy.

You know what? She is so right. I should know more about the world around me and I should take an interest in the beliefs of others not just because she is my friend but out of respect for her as a human being.

As Americans we pride ourselves as being a melting pot. As Americans we say we welcome all people of all creeds and beliefs. Well with that comes the responsibility of respecting those creeds and respecting those beliefs.

In the respect must come the commitment to take the time to find out about how other people live and see the world. The world is not just perceived as I perceive it and that is the beauty of humanity. As much as I think I would like it would not be fun to have everyone think like me or do things the way I do them. We are all different and it is in this difference that lies the beauty. It is in the fact that we don’t see things the same way but we can still love and care for each other. Taking the time to understand how another person celebrates life and how people celebrate hope and the triumph of good over evil should be celebrated in itself. More people should take the time to see the beauty in diversity. I think if they did we would have less communication problems and less hatred. (Maybe I am just naïve.)

I had another friend recently who told me she doesn’t see color when she sees people. I think that’s sad. I see color everywhere and it is spectacular. Diversity: it’s everywhere. Embrace it and I promise you won’t regret it.

Peggy Root

Potsdam