Focus on our similarities

In concert with Mr. Nicholas Shump’s article of July 18, I’d like to offer a little story. Several years ago when my daughters were in fourth and second grades, my older daughter came home from school and asked, “What are we?” She said the  next week was ethnic day at school. I responded, “Well, we’re Americans.” That wouldn’t do. We had to “BE” something for ethnic day. I told her that her great-grandmother’s family was from Denmark. Wow! Perfect!

So we set about preparing a small presentation about Denmark. She was delighted. Her sister watched and proceeded to tell her pals that we were from Denmark. Well, not exactly. My grandmother considered herself an American. While I understand the pride many people feel in their heritage, I think we might be better off and feel more kinship with one another if we didn’t lead so often with the hyphenated foot.

I know that America now refers to itself as more of a salad bowl than a melting pot, but our country may fall to pieces without the coherence of American kinship. I try to look at everyone, thinking: “These are my people; these are my fellow humans.” Not only are we “in the same boat” in the U.S., but we’re sailing through space on the same fragile planet, and we might be better off if we could focus on our common ground, our similarities, instead of our differences so much. It might help keep us from a focus on diversity which, if not kept in perspective, can lead to divisiveness.

Mary Ann Wittman, Topeka