Learn Cultural Awareness – End the Fear

Learn Cultural Awareness – End the Fear

Building walls, banning people, protesting against love, and brutality meted out by those wielding a certain power. It makes me weep and I want to turn away, to shut out the hate, injustice and ignorance. Read an article, watch a report, listen to a candidate and the message of fear and exclusion is strong – it hits the face like a heat blast from an open oven door. I wonder how it will end. When will the shift be made from the destructive and demeaning rhetoric to the constructive and inspirational?

If fear is born of ignorance and hate springs from fear, it is a cycle that seems nearly impossible to stop. How can you educate those who don’t want to learn or ease a mind into accepting a truth that flies in the face of a lifetime of belief?

There may not be one answer, but it seems imperative that we stop the negative that oozes into our daily lives, including that which we create, and learn to be good to others. Yes, we are all guilty. We each harbor long-held beliefs that may be destroying our ability to be good to others. As children we learned through the words and actions of our parents, our family, our teachers, and our friends. Those lessons take root like a plant in our brains and are grown by a lifetime of experience. We now view life and people through a lens that matches our early teachings and does not necessarily offer an honest or updated view.

What if it were possible to reverse everything, to take away what we’ve learned and teach ourselves a better, more constructive and inspirational way of thinking? Better yet, what if we could raise a generation that got their start knowing only inclusion and acceptance? Children learn from our words and actions, they soak up everything so we must find a way to reverse our own trend toward the negative. Let’s rip out the unhealthy parts of that plant in our brains so that our message to our children can be constructive and inspirational and lead to a bright future.

Raising racially and culturally sensitive children is no easy task. When you already feel as if you’re on the receiving end of the ignorance, it’s even harder. Let your child’s own natural innocence and acceptance be your guide and inspire you. Learn along with them. The more children are exposed to new and different things, the more likely they are to accept and understand them, rather than fear them. It would work with adults too, but children’s minds are more open, they have not yet learned how to judge.

Introduce your family to as many cultures, races, beliefs, and lifestyles as possible. There’s no need to practice or believe in another faith, but understand where it comes from, what it teaches, and know that it’s followers feel just as strongly as you do about yours. You don’t have to love the food that another cultural group might eat, but try some and learn its ingredients and its origins. Help your children hear the charm in another person’s accent or see the beauty in another’s native way of dress. Speak with people you believe are not at all like you and learn that they may be more so than you think. Read magazines, visit websites, and attend events that share something about another race, culture or lifestyle. Don’t assume everyone hates. Don’t allow ignorance to generate fear in you or in others.

Exposure with no pre-judgment educates. Education can eradicate fear thus eliminating hate. That is a change I will not turn away from, it will not make me weep. Let’s all work together to bring up a generation that sees differences (because we can’t pretend they don’t exist) yet still embraces them, accepts them, or is inspired by them. We must if there is hope for a bright future.

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