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Opinion Diversity Education Needed To Fight Ignorance In Our Nation

Jan 6, 2005
Metro-Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Diversity education needed to fight ignorance in our nation

Published: Tuesday, August 28, 2012, 12:45 AM

By Patriot-News Op-Ed


By Amarpreet Ghuman

During a time in which diversity and multiculturalism have never been more prevalent, in a country where individuals of a multitude of ethnicities hold political offices, we must ask ourselves, what is the American identity?

There is no image that better represents the American people other than the American flag. Stars and stripes unite together in the glorious red, white and blue colors to embody the American identity of strength, courage and valor.

In a land that promises citizens and immigrants the dream of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, generations of hard-working families have come together to provide the American people with security and freedom.

Freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of assembly, to name a few, and most importantly, the freedom to receive a free education in good public schools. It is education that has brought this nation to be so culturally accepting and diverse through the years.

Since the time our nation gained independence, citizens of a variety of cultural and religious backgrounds have worked side by side to defend the nation in times of need, build the roads and railroads that are the backbone of the nation’s infrastructure and farm the lands that feed the American people themselves.

Following the recent tragedies in Oak Tree, Wis., and Aurora, Colo., the unity and support displayed by the American people have been shining lights that have kept our morale strong and allowed this nation to continue to flourish.

Despite hate crimes being targeted toward one group of people, all of humanity suffers the consequences of the ignorant. Education is the only way we can fight ignorance. It is imperative that diversity education be instituted in school curriculum for us to learn about foreign traditions and beliefs. For our future to be one that embodies cultural awareness and acceptance, we must start at our roots, at the elementary, middle and high school levels of education.

Unless our children know about one another’s backgrounds, ignorance and hatred will continue to exist and unfortunately, threaten innocent American lives. Recently, the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wis., was a target of ignorance, which cost the lives of six people.

Sikhism is a progressive religion that advocates equality and selflessness. Being a relatively younger religion that is about 500 years old, Sikhism was established around unifying values such as gender equality and equal rights and respect for all, irrespective of one’s caste, ethnicity, culture, religion or level of education — the same rights granted to us by the Constitution.

Every service at Sikh temples works to unite communities, as everybody is invited and welcomed to enjoy the free meals that are given out at the conclusion of the services called “langar.”

Equally as important are the Sikh principles of hard work and sharing one’s wealth. In order to support the community we live in and interact with every day, Sikhs are adamant about giving back and donating to charity.

Going hand in hand with Sikh values, people such as Bill Gates and Warren Buffett also have set a leading example for the American people in terms of donating to support the well-being of humanity.

The success of our nation is directly related to the amount we support one another. As fellow Americans we need to use this opportunity to get to know our neighbors, classmates and co-workers who bring their diverse backgrounds to this country and work toward a better and brighter America. We must educate one another about our cultures, religions and beliefs and realize that we are all neighbors collectively working toward a better future for our children.

The display of strength and unity at the numerous vigils that have taken place in the last few weeks is the epitome of what we are capable of. Now is the time for us to learn that Sikh, Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Hindu don’t bring us apart. Rather, they bring years of history and knowledge together to create one rich, warm and accepting American culture.

Let us all unite under the American flag and live by the nation’s motto: E Pluribus Unum.

Amarpreet Ghuman of Lebanon is a practicing Sikh.

© 2012 PennLive.com. All rights reserved.

source: http://www.pennlive.com/editorials/index.ssf/2012/08/diversity_education_needed_to.html



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