The article ‘Getting to know about you and me’ by Chana Schoenberg focuses on the religious intolerance and ignorance that is so prevalent in America. The schools are equally ignorant of people from different cultures and religion. The teachers too depict a level of religious intolerance amidst their academic prowess.
Cultural diversity occurs every crowd, irrespective of age differences. Schoenberg says that she attended a summer training where she met students from different religious and cultural backgrounds. There were, “Jewish, Roman Catholic, Muslim, Hindu, Methodist, Mormon, Jehovah’s Witness and Lutheran,” (Schoenberg 1 para 3). They spent a lot of free time at the cheap restaurants asking each other questions about their religions. It occurred to her just how many cultures were spread and mingled. She was surprised at how little they knew of each other’s culture and religious beliefs and customs. Growing up, I saw people from different cultures and religions too.
Prejudice seemingly dominates the ignorance people have about other religions. During the summer program, a girl said that she had 10 siblings to which a second girl asked if she was Mormon. The first girl’s reply, “no, I dress normal,” is evidence of the prejudice that exists among the cultures (Schoenberg 1 para 4). It is this stereotypical judgements that allow people to thinks that people from one culture all behave in the same way. In 11th grade, students would laugh at me because I had different opinions regarding dating. They did not understand how an Egyptian could be a Christian. They were ignorant of my religious beliefs regarding dating. The stereotypical opinion from ancient history was what they regarded me with. Judgement of character and personality is dominated by the cultural differences.
Ignorance implies lack of knowledge and in this case, religious ignorance dominates the social settings in America. There are different religions in every social setting. However, people tend to be insensitive to other people’s beliefs apart from their own. Evident from the questions and utterances from the article by Schoenberg, academic integrity does not change the religious ignorance that exists in America. A school professor said that in his work, he put in all his effort because he did not want to get ‘jewed’. The social and cultural insensitivity from the professor in talking about another culture shows how culturally insensitive the American population is. School mates made fun of my religious beliefs because they neither associated nor respected them. To them waiting till I was 18 to date did not make sense. Laughing at my beliefs without regards of my feelings is evidence of the ignorance the American population dwells.
Friendships and personal relationships are built on religious identification. People relate with each other on merit of religious accreditation. Students picked on me while in middle school because they did not understand my religion. Being a Christian from Egypt, the students did not understand how that came to. Questions and prejudice dominated the relationships I had with fellow students. I was not judged by my personality not my beliefs but by the opinions students had about Egyptian Christians. From the article, a girl asked another if she was Mormon because she had ten siblings. The first girl would then judge the second girl on merit if religion. The second girl denied being religion citing difference in dress code, “I dress normal,” (Schoenberg 1 para 4). The utterance by the second girl shows that people form religious expectations and standards of other religions such as the dress codes. Hence, people judge each other on merit of cultural and religious background.
The experience in Wisconsin taught Schoenberg that people are divided by the hatred they are brought up to regard other religions. She learnt that people have negative stereotyped impressions that transcend their personality. Schoenberg believes that people need to relate positively and overlook the cultural and religious differences. She identified with the twenty students together with whom they attended the summer seminar (Schoenberg 1). They had fun at the seminar and enjoyed learning about each other’s culture and religions. At school we comprise of students from many religious and cultural backgrounds. Learning about other religions is fun. I have a few friends that are neither Christians nor from Egypt but we have fun together.
The cultural and religious division as a result of ignorance and intolerance has its roots in cultural beliefs, stereotyped opinions and biased hatred. The American population is thus insensitive of each other’s religion and cultural beliefs. By possessing this hatred and stereotyping people, we miss out on the best experiences such as learning about other people’s religions. We ought to look past this religious barriers and judge people from their personalities.
Schoenberg, Chana. “Getting to know about You and Me.” Lingualeo 1.1 (2018): 2. Print. <https://lingualeo.com/es/jungle/getting-to-know-about-you-and-me-by-chana-schoenberger-153732#/page/1>.