Friday, March 20, 2015

Letter to Pine Bush High School

I, like many others today, stumbled across an article about the Pledge of Allegiance recited in Arabic at your school. I thought it was a beautiful idea that students would be allowed to share their language and cultures with the rest of the student body through reciting their loyalty and commitment towards the U.S. I guess the school disagreed because of the immediate apology that was issued.
I think the apology teaches individuals that diversity is ONLY OK in some cases. How do you think the Arab students felt? Or the other students who come from homes where other languages are spoken? Their voices aren't important, they should forget where their families have come from because it's offensive to intolerant parents. Diversity is OK if you're not Arab, or Afghan, or Pakistani, right? What a disgusting and un-American message to be spreading to our children.
The fact that families who had loved ones spend time in Afghanistan were offended by this shows me that MORE cultural educations need to be done in this school. Arabic is not the language of Afghanistan. Why were Jewish parents offended? Have they heard the stories of Arabs protecting Jews during the Holocaust? Or other stories of Arabs and Jews working together? I think this conversation could turn into something extremely valuable for the students of this school, and this entire community!

You have the power to create change - it's right in your hands! You have the power to unite communities. It's not by issuing apologies or press release, it's about issuing knowledge and love and talks of inclusion. It seems that the student body at your school is divided. Why was an Arab student made to feel excluded and now probably targeted for his/her race? It's truly saddening that a school cowardly gives in to intolerance of parents and ignores the best interests of the children.
I'm not Arab, but I am different. I look a little different, and I feel a little different. I represent multiple races and my ancestors fought for this country's foundation. Would someone know just by looking at me? Absolutely not. But I will tell them why I look the way I do at any chance I get. I share my cultural experiences because I don't want little boys and girls to grow up in a world of misunderstanding and hatred towards different.
Your Vision talks about "a global and changing society", but the board's apology for promoting dialogue about the changing society contradicts that vision statement. Please consider promoting cultural understanding at your school. It will change lives.
Thank you and all the best for you and your community.​
Anisah Khan
Freelance Superhero 

 *This was a letter in response to Pine Bush's apology after a student recited the Pledge of Allegiance in Arabic.
Articles on this can be found here and here.
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