St. Patrick’s Day may be a good time to have this conversation. It seems like a day in which people are quick to embrace the Irish heritage, though may not possess an ounce of blood from the Green Isle. Nonetheless, in the United States, the day has become a universal day to party and have fun. Not everyone sees it that way, though, and you should be mindful of that.
We’ve adopted it for many reasons. One, being the aforementioned designated day to party and act a fool. Another reason, it’s the chosen day to express Irish pride, but that would only be half the story. Truly, it’s an Irish Catholic day, one in recognition of a man who brought Catholicism to Ireland many centuries ago. But, not everyone in Ireland is Catholic. And, there’s a bone of contention there, too, if you’re not careful.
Point of the matter is, we often times take one step forward, and another step back, when it comes to our growth as a society. We pride ourselves with having the collective maturity of accepting the differences of other people. Unfortunately, we stick too closely to the attributes that make us different. “Kiss me, I’m Irish.” And, what of those who are not Irish?
Mind you, this is a playful approach to a more serious issue. That which makes us proud of who we are, can keep us apart. It does, especially by those who use it as a means to make our arguments regarding prejudice more credible than another.
Does prejudice exist? It certainly does. But, there are people who make the effort to empathize, to understand and work to be the catalyst behind the change. Those people are not always welcomed. Worse, the other side may even reject the effort by stating it is impossible to relate.
It’s not impossible.
Take this editorial, for example. Unlike an article, there is no byline. You do not know the ethnicity, gender or religious background of the person who has penned it. Yet, there are times —hopefully — in which you read something that strikes a chord within you, something to which you can relate. Therein lies a commonality.
We all share more in common with one another than that which makes us unique. Too often, we all focus on what makes us different; the color of our skins, our ethnicity or our religions. Maybe it started in school.
Class, what makes Susie special?
She has red hair.
No. That’s not good. Susie has red hair because of a particular genome. Much of her genetic make-up, however, is very similar to everyone in class. Science says we’re only a few generations from sharing a common ancestor. Hate someone for being black? Hate someone for being Muslim? Hate someone because they back Donald Trump?
The society in which we live in now, in this country, is arguably the most open-minded and accepting group in history. Of course, it’s impossible to substantiate, and we’re not without our shortcomings, but it rings true.
It’s also difficult to comprehend this thought as we all swim in political rhetoric geared to separate us between conservative and liberal, as if either approach to thinking is wrong. Neither is wrong.
We’re all family. Remember that.