Recently it was reported that out of the material recovered from Osama Bin Laden's rathole we learned that one of his ideas was to recruit and exploit minority populations in the US - specifically African Americans - to carry out his acts of cowardice on his behalf. Bin Laden's motivation to do this was to create distrust, animosity and hatred among the many cultures, races and ethnicities that form our country's population. It's an abhorrent idea, but not necessarily one that wouldn't succeed. I mean, it's not like we all get along all the time, right? Throw a little insidious deliberate evil into the mix and we could just basically kiss our "melting pot" ideology into the dumpster, right?
So it got me thinking that we, as Americans and Massachusettsians (or whatever we are called) and Framinghamites, we need to be sure that we guard against that possibility that someone or something might play their siren song of intolerance and try to call us over to the dark side. Right here in Framingham we have our own divisive characters; let's call them Frick and Frack. They are outspoken about the very real and legitimate concern of illegal immigration. The problem is that they tend to paint ALL foreigners - of any kind, type or status - with the same brush. (Not to mention espouse, support and perpetuate some pretty abhorrent ideals outside of their main concern.) The real problem lies in that they try to create a sense of distrust and animosity in our own community, a community that could - and SHOULD - take advantage of welcoming and embracing the work ethic, friendliness and community devotion expressed by a vast majority of the non-citizens in our town.
We as a community must be vigilant in our ensuring that Frick and Frack do NOT speak for the Town! There are a multitude of issues regarding the teasing out people who are here without having gone through the proper channels but here in the United States of America, all are innocent until proven guilty (except in Traffic Court, but that's a different post!) and we, as citizens of this awesome nation, should hold fast to that basic tenet and evaluate every person based on their character, not their last name, their accent or their language of origin.
When my husband and I were looking for a place to "settle" after learning we were having a child, one of the parameters we used to decide where we wanted to look for a home was whether or not the community reflected the world as a whole. No knowing much about this area, I was initially attracted to the look and feel of Southborough but when I took a closer look at their statistics and school information, I quickly realized that my child would end up being just another slice of white bread in the package. Now, there's nothing inherently wrong with white bread, but we prefer the nutritional variety of all kinds of bread.
I believe there is great value to all living in a community where some people don't have cars, some people aren't native speakers, some people have horse farms with 8,900 square foot homes, some people can't afford to feed their kids, some people work at home, some people can't or don't work, some people are scientists, some people are factory workers; you're all getting it, right?
There is a richness that comes from living in a community where there is no "normal." My son will grow up knowing that not every kid's dad can afford to stop on the way home and get him that $40 game he wants just because, that some kids will be handed keys to their own cars - which are often nicer than the one *I* drive - the day they turn 16, that some kids have to find it in themselves to push through all the stereotypes and learn to speak English well enough to get good grades, that some kids come to school pale and hollow-eyed because their parents - if they have two, or even one - had to decide between rent and food, that some kids' moms make dishes at home that we can't pronounce or replicate but are so delicious that we want to eat at their house every day, that there are narrow minded people who don't understand how each and every person can bring something different to the table and that many of those things can enhance our life experience; I could fill the screen with examples, as I am sure many others could.
By living in Framingham my son is also learning the lesson of true altruism and generosity as opposed to not for profit profiteering, that a person's character is measured by what they do when no one is looking and that democracy is a double edged sword.
Without that diversity, without the richness that a diverse community offers and without having the opportunity to learn from each other, my son would leave my home not having any idea how to appreciate or deal with the diversity in the world.
People who believe they are the "majority" may - will? - soon find themselves in the minority. Wouldn't it be a lot easier, not to mention smarter, to practice intercultural harmony now to set the example by which your future generations will want to experience? Isn't it the right thing to do? Doesn't doing so, in the long run, make things easier and allow us all to reap the benefits of having a unified community? Doesn't it make sense to not allow ideological terrorism in your own community? Take the same stand against the Fricks and Fracks of the world as you would have Osama Bin Laden; hatred is hatred and there's just not enough time in the day to waste on that!