07 January 2011

Whoever You Are: A Plea for Equality

In 2002 I spent a summer the University of California in Santa Cruz studying Marine Biology.  While there I was privelaged to interact with other teens from all over the country, even some from Indonesia and Malasia.  One of these amazing people was a girl named Farrah.  Farrah was born in America but her parents were Arabic. 

I remember the sadness in her eyes as she explained how ever since the attacks on the World Trade Centers she had been treated differently because of her ethnicity. She described how people stared at her in the airports, how kids at her school taunted her and used racist slurs, how because of that single incident commited by people who were the same ethnicity as she, her life had been affected as though she were at fault.

While we have come a long way since the Civl Rights Movement of the 1960's, we still have a long way to go. It isn't just skin color or ethnicity that creates intolerance. People are persecuted for their religion (or lack thereof), political views, sexual orientation,and personal decisions.   Mem Fox's Whoever You Are offers a way to teach tolerance to children.

In a world full of diversity, it is important for children (and adults) to learn tolerance, equality, love, and respect for everyone, even those who are different. That's what this book does. In very few words and in beautiful pictures, we are taken around the globe to see the array of people with separate lifestyles.   What makes this book so beautiful is that it doesn't focus on the differences between people, it focuses on the similaries. 

People bleed and people love. People cry. People dream.  People are people, plain and simple.  

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