“Those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it. Those who fail to learn history properly are just doomed.”

It is a brand new year, so time for a healthy dish of perspective.

Around the world there are many traditions when it comes to the new year. Many people set resolutions for themselves. That is, they make a list of changes for their lives in the coming year. Others have rituals where they cast off the old as midnight approaches and by the final stroke of the midnight hour on the clock they are clean and donning fresh clothing. Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year is celebrated as the feast of trumpets. Sweet apples dipped in honey are eaten and the shofar is blown often to let the world know it is a joyous time.

Whatever your traditions, especially if they be actions you are looking to change in the upcoming year, I wish you the best as you endeavor. Allow me to insert just one more – PERSPECTIVE.

Perspective |pərˈspektiv|

noun:    A particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view.

Okay, you are thinking that I have lost my mind. Well, can’t lose what you never possessed.

Seriously, I know that many resolutions are actually about perspective and perception. There is one specific thing I am focusing on, however. I feel the need to discuss our attitudes toward other human beings. More specifically, the way we think about and treat those who are different.

A couple weeks ago, I was reading a review for an episode of a television program and the reviewer wrote something to the effect, “Oh, great another show that paints the Arabs as helpless victims.” This statement rubbed me the wrong way and it did so with great friction.

Three hundred years ago, the white man attacked North American natives because they wanted to possess this land. I am sure there have been those who have read books and in more modern times watched movies and television programs where the Native Americans have been depicted as the victims they were, and continue to be, making similar statements. The same can be said of black Americans, Chinese Americans, Japanese Americans, Irish Americans, German Americans, Italian Americans, and the list goes on.

Humans fear that which is different. This, is a fact.

Just because we do not understand something does not mean it is a thing to be feared. Not all Arabs are terrorists. The same way that not all Christians are hate-mongers nor all Americans are arrogant, self-righteous, entitled bigots. When we group all into one disparaging category, we turn them all into victims. At the same time, we turn ourselves into the very thing we say they are.

Make 2017 the year you step back before passing judgement and weigh all the information you have before you. Then, after in-depth consideration, adhere to the age-old adage – If you have nothing good to say, don’t say anything at all. Learn to respect others the way you desire to be respected. You get what you give.

These last few clichés thus end your lesson in perspective.


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