Dearborn is like an Arab Bazaar, filled with people from all walks of life. There are people from Yemen, Iraq, Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, Syria and more. However, every bazaar has its issues. Sometimes, the customers fight and the vendors don’t get along. Ultimately, this leads to the bazaar falling apart. Dearborn is like this because of the prejudice that clouds our eyes and judgment. We get along well enough, but there are underlying tensions straining our relationships with one another. I believe this to be the single most important issue in my community because it leaves us divided and vulnerable. As a community filled with minorities, we must unite, set aside our differences, and learn to love our fellow community members. In this case, education is the solution and great equalizer for our people.
There are ethnic clashes between the Lebanese, Yemenis, and Iraqis, and I have yet to understand why. Our cultures differ slightly, but that does not stop the dirty looks that these groups continue to give one another. These looks can stop once we educate ourselves on current events. We can look at a news broadcast and view the immensity that one’s hateful actions has on the people they encounter. Hate crimes and vengefulness consume the souls of our fellow human beings. Wars encompass the Middle East, and that leaves me wondering: Does Dearborn really want to be as divided as our origin countries? In America, where we have just barely started out, we cannot afford to be divided. Education teaches us that unification between people leads to an era of peace, economic growth, and overall prosperity. We need only look towards the future and not the past. Education encourages innovation and new ideas, something Dearborn needs to flourish.
Education is a vehicle for change because all throughout my educational career I have learned and witnessed the consequences of prejudice. It ignites genocide, injustice, and senseless actions that harm innocent people. However, this hate-filled seed can only be planted if people do not have faith and trust in one another. Faith and trust seem doable in Dearborn because everyone is everyone’s long-lost cousin, but at this point, our ethnicities don’t mix, we look down on our Detroit neighbors and we argue over what is halal or haram. Education would remedy this issue in many ways. Speaking from personal experience, learning alongside people that are different from me makes me see that we are all humans with different exteriors. Intellectual conversations and debates stimulate our minds and form a sense of camaraderie between us. We learn to not grow up to become Hitler’s Germany or Reconstruction Era America. Rather, we aim to be a community fighting for one another’s rights and equality like the 1960’s Civil Rights era.
Dearborn is a safe haven for us Middle Easterns, but we must welcome everyone into our community no matter their race, ethnicity, or religion. By educating ourselves with the past, we can embrace our differences in the future.