Different than you...

An article by: Lou Tice - The Pacific Institute, Inc.

How tolerant are you of people who look and think differently than you? With global terrorism continuing to rise, this is an important question - one which drives down to the very core of who we are as human beings.

I am deeply concerned about hate crimes (meaning crimes motivated by racism, intolerance or bigotry) today. It's also very troubling that people under the age of 18 commit more than half of these vicious crimes in the United States - and the trend seems to be spreading to other countries not normally known for such behavior.

A Harris Poll some time ago indicated that over fifty percent of the high school students had personally witnessed racial confrontations and four out of ten said that they would be willing to either participate in or silently support racial incidents. From the front pages of the newspapers, I don't think things have gotten much better.

Now, my experience has taught me that hate, fear, and violence only survive where there is ignorance, and where a poor self-image makes it seem desirable to see others as somehow beneath you.

I think that schools should teach tolerance and respect right along with basic skills. After all, we live in a world where diversity is the rule rather than the exception. If our kids are threatened by differences or uncomfortable around others who don't look or speak as they do, they aren't likely to grow or go very far.

I challenge you to join me in taking responsibility for supporting tolerance in our schools and to help every child you know to realize that we are all more alike than different. A first good step would to be to practice what we preach by getting to know someone different than ourselves.

Lou Tice - The Pacific Institute, Inc. - to subscribe to Lou's email newsletter articles go to: www.thepacificinstitute.com

Mosaic faces from a mosaic table - images taken outside Wauchope Community Centre... sorry I don't know the names of the fabulous creators - if you do, please let me know.