Sunday, February 5, 2012

Does Keeping Separate Divide Us?

So this blog has been rolling around in my head for months--we'll see how it pans out.

This past fall I attended the Newton Library's Council on Humanities book discussion on Middle Eastern Culture.  It was very good--and got me to read books I would never have read otherwise.  The first book, The Israelis : Ordinary People in an Extraordinary Land by Donna Rosenthal, was excellent.  The moderator said it was used in history classes, and I can understand why.  Ms. Rosenthal is an excellent writer and presents most of the ideas factually and not with a slant.  One of the things the group talked about, was that in the Middle East, there are separate groups of people--based on religion, culture, jobs, income etc.  And they do not intermingle--which of course creates problems (not the only source of problems, but one reason).  The different religions go to their separate schools, separate markets, don't intermarry, and don't really learn about the others.  During the discussion, it was brought up, does this happen in America?  Do people segregate themselves?  If so, what is the outcome? 

When I lived in KC, I didn't see as much of it, but since I've moved here, I see it a lot more.  Around where we live, there are pockets of one religion, then another religion, even some towns are all one religion, then the next town is another one.  Religious-based private schools are very prevalent, and people really don't intermingle with one another.  Are we separating ourselves?  And does that divide us?  If a child is raised in one religion, goes to that religion's private school, what happens when college arrives and there's a menagerie of people?   Hmm.  Maybe that's why I'm not pro-private schools or home-schooling.  The world is a melting pot, and even if you don't like or have never been exposed to people with short noses (I'm using that as an example), who's to say when you go to an interview, your interviewer will not have a short nose?  When we stay within our pre-described boundaries are we protecting ourselves or are we dividing us from our neighbor?


  1. Interesting post. Most people I'm around are apart of the melting pot group. I have several friends that belong to certain religions, have certain jobs, are parents and non parents. For example: The guests at our wedding are from all different categories of people: black, white, asian, mexican, bi-ratial; single, seperated, divorced, married, open marriage, long term relationship, newlyweds, cheaters (we know who that one was lol); non parents, single home parent, parents, baby daddy's, baby mamma's; catholics, methodist, lutherans, jewish, buddist, non religious, southern baptist, clergy member, non believers; active duty soldiers, veterans, non soliders, radical group, people from America, Ireland, Japan and Mexico. City foke, country foke, red necks, white trash, blu collar, white collar, unemployed (that was me at that time), welfare receiptants....the list goes on and on.

    They all have a set of beliefs but they are able and willing to be around other groups. In my homdetown it is a different story. People will go as far as to not talk or associate to a family by a certain last name.

    I find that when you surround yourself with other religions or groups of people your horizions are broadened. This week I was reading an article that gave me guidance on how to handle an over bearing religious person. Someone made the point that many live in America simply because it offers freedom of religion and belief sysytems. Other countries would punish by death or other measures if you move out of what they believe. With America being free to select your belief many people still make clicks or shun those who do not follow their bliefs, have a certain job or drive a certain car.

    Thought that might add to your post. ;)

  2. Separatism NEVER solves anything. I say mix it all up to promote understanding. We can all learn something from everyone.