I try to keep my political posts to a minimum, but lately I’ve found that nearly impossible. I have a few things to say.
I am currently a minority. I live in a foreign country. I am a visa holder. I teach Muslim students. I teach Buddhist students. I work with Muslim teachers. I work with Buddhist teachers. I am neither Muslim nor Buddhist.
What have I learned from this?
Something I’ve know forever that has only been reaffirmed more strongly than ever:
People are people.
Sure, these people are different from me. We don’t believe in the same god, we don’t speak the same language, and we have very different cultures and traditions. But here’s the thing: that does not make me better or worse. It does not make them better or worse.
I’ve been blessed by the kindness of these people who differ so much from myself. They have welcomed me with all the English they know as I fumbled through even the most basic Thai. They have given me tips and tricks, making it easier to adjust to my move across the world. They have invited me to activities outside of school. They have shared dinners with me. And they have shared countless laughs and smiles–usually about trying to understand our differences.
These have been some of the kindest people I have ever met in my well-traveled life. And I think that’s really saying something.
Reading the news lately has been painful. I’ve been offended, disgusted, and so confused. To assume that we can define millions of people because they share one common factor is not fair. Deep down, regardless of differences, we are all composed of the same parts. We all have something special to bring to the table.
Whether you lean right or left, like elephants or donkeys, voted Donald or Hillary, all I ask is that you remember one thing:
People are people. Always have been. Always will be.
Whether you are white, black, brown, yellow, man, woman, transgender, gay, straight, old, young, rich, poor… whatever… remind yourself that America was founded on differences.
We should continue to respect and embrace that.