How do we mix culture, ethnicity, and diversity into education? How do we allow kids to explore each others’ differences with an open mind and an open heart? These are challenging questions that take a lifetime to explore.
The first step towards cultural understanding is to understand your own background. As I have explored my own thoughts and experiences, I have realized that I lack a connection to my own roots. I am a person without strong cultural ties to my ancestors. I am a mix of so many different ethnicities, and yet I know very little about any of them. Many people, like me, lack cultural ties. I wonder, if we don’t feel a connection to our own cultural identity, how are we able to understand the cultural identity of others? I would like to share a poem I wrote about a year ago about my own culture and identity. Writing this poem taught me more than I could have imagined, and I would like to invite you to write your own poem, and would love for you to share it.
I am a mix of English, Polish, Moldavian, Ukrainian, German, and Scotch-Irish.
I am Eastern European.
I am a mutt.
I am Jewish by heritage, by personality, and by culture.
I am from my English grandmother.
I am from my Jewish grandparents, and I know what my ancestors have suffered due to discrimination.
I am from people who lived through the Holocaust, people who were discriminated against in the worst way, because of their culture, their beliefs, and their appearance.
I am Caucasian, I am from a group that is blamed for discrimination, racism, a group that throughout history has been a great cause of racism. I am from a group that cannot deny being racist, and I am often stereotyped as so.
I am from a group that often has no culture of their own, a group that assimilated easily, but with that lost their traditions and cultural ties.
I am from a happy neighborhood where the kids grew up happily playing with each other, and all went their separate ways for a college education.
I am from a world of Martial Artists, where our fellow students are our family, and everyone takes care of one another.
I am from a family that values education, and parents that hope their children will grow up loving to learn.
I am from an alternative school, where children explore their interests, where creativity blossoms, and where freedom can be identified.
I am from a sarcastic, quiet, comforting older brother.
I am from a intelligent, stubborn, sarcastic, giving father who wants nothing more than for me to be happy, and a loving, strong, successful mother who sees the best in people and perhaps cares too much.
I am from this mix of my parents who have raised me to be who I am, and I am much like them.