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The Sad Truth Behind Ethnic Schism

By James Donahue

There is a mental illness that has been haunting the United States since our nation’s origins. It has been especially noticeable since an extreme Islamic terrorist group was blamed for the 9-11 attacks and voters selected the nation’s first black president. It goes by many names but is generally known as ethnic bigotry.

Currently it is socially unacceptable to be a declared Moslem and the white Republican segment of our elected representatives in Washington do not appear to think President Barack Obama has much to offer as a leader of our nation.

There is nothing wrong with the Moslem Americans. And the only thing wrong with President Obama’s ability to lead is that he and the members of his party appear to be as sold out to big corporate interests as the Republicans are. But the nation is now caught up in racial and ethnic profiling. Unfortunately it is a sickness that has always bubbled just under the surface of the political and social cross section of the nation. It threatens to destroy us all if we don’t collectively get a grip on it.

When I was a kid attending the public school, I remember a history teacher that proudly proclaimed the United States as “the melting pot of the world.” He meant that we were a diverse group of people that migrated from everywhere and that we represented all religious, ethnic and races of the world in a single culture. It was a grand idea, but it was never true.

While the nation was, indeed, a place where people from all over the world gathered to live, we never lived and worked without suffering the bigotry of ethnic schism. Our cities still remain divided between Chinatown, Greektown, the Mexican and Cuban Americans and other ethnic neighborhoods. The Irish were once considered less than equal to other so-called Americans when they first migrated here. The blacks arrived as slaves to the Europeans who came first. Women have had to fight for the right to vote and work with equality alongside the men.

Some of us are old enough to remember the days when Senator Joseph McCarthy led the ugly witch hunt against the Communists that destroyed reputations of honest and productive American citizens. We remember the controversy when President John F. Kennedy became the first Roman Catholic to be elected to that high office. And we lived through the horrors of the American Civil Rights movement, and saw the Ku Klux Klan conduct its own brand of terrorism in the South.

Today the people fear every declared Moslem as a potential terrorist. They are building barriers at the Mexican-U.S. border in a vain effort to keep Mexican migrant workers away from the farm and public service jobs they have filled for years. When we went to war in 1941 we singled Japanese and German immigrants and forced them to live in concentration camps for fear they were not really Americans at heart. And what have we ever gained from this kind of hatred for our fellow man?

Someone recently posted the following statement on an Internet social site. We thought it worth sharing:

“Your car is German. Your vodka is Russian. Your pizza is Italian. Your kebab is Turkish. Your democracy is Greek. Your coffee is Brazilian. Your movies are American. Your tea is Tamil. Your shirt is Indian. Your oil is Saudi Arabian. Your electronics are Chinese. Your numbers are Arabic, your letters Latin but you complain your neighbor is an immigrant?”

There is an old joke that has been well expressed by the political cartoonists. It shows the early Pilgrims arriving off the New England coast. A group of Indians watching from the shore are commenting: “Well, there goes the neighborhood.” While we might laugh at the cartoon, there is a sad understanding that it expresses a truth many Americans might not wish to admit.

We have forgotten that we are all the immigrants on American soil. The true natives are, indeed, the tribal peoples who lived here before the Europeans ever arrived. This may also include the Mexican people, many of whom may be direct descendants of the Aztec, Mayan, Inca and the other cultures that once existed in Southern and Central America.

So what right does any American culture have to set itself above that of another? What right do Americans as a society have to declare ourselves superior to any other world culture? The sad fact is that none of us are unique. We are, in the words of the scientists that study genetics, more alike than we are different.

And we are, in the words of the spiritualists and occultists, all One. What they are saying is that we all share the gift of the one spirit that we perceive as the Creator of All. We carry the spark, the light that we identify as the very Soul of God.

For each of us, then, there should be no room for hate or separation. There is no excuse for anything but love and compassion for our fellow man. To shut out the needs of the minorities for the alleged “safety” of the rest is wrong. To deny food and shelter to the poor to feed the greed of the wealthy is evil in its purist form.