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?