Most of you who know me, know two things about me: my love for traveling and my love of animals, mainly dogs. As I was watching a new Netflix TV series named Dogs at the end of the day, I felt compelled to write about a sensitive topic that it is affecting many people around the world: tolerance and understanding.
The second episode of Dogs is about a Syrian refugee that is living in Berlin. His mission is to bring his dog from Syria to Berlin. But that’s not what I’m going to discuss today, I’m going to discuss something that this Syrian refugee mentioned. He said that living in Berlin is great, however, everyone around him looks at him as a “poor” refugee. And that he is starting to feel sorry for himself and even has started “hating” himself for being considered that.
I know all of you know that there are certain tendencies in the US and in Europe: electing right-winged parties, xenophobia becoming somewhat normal, and not knowing whether what you read is true or false. All things considered, one must ask himself/herself what do I need to do to stop these tendencies? A year or so ago, I listened to a podcast that discussed this strange term, “social capital”. As I listened to it, the more it resonated with me and what I’ve always believed in. This so-called social capital is in layman's terms trust within a country, city, town, etc. The podcast explores the importance of trust within a society and it explains how it can help the economy, health, education, crime-rate, and the list goes on and on. However, the main route for people to trust one another is by traveling.
For most of us, traveling is no longer a luxury. It is simply something we do at least once a year. Of course, Europeans are pros at this, you guys travel ALL THE TIME! The funny thing about traveling is that for some reason you always choose to trust the stranger from that country you’re visiting. If you’re lost, if you’re looking for recommendations, who do you ask? Some person from the street - a complete stranger. We also get to interact with individuals that perhaps, we would never interact otherwise. Traveling pushes our boundaries and we are sometimes forced to trust strangers, which hopefully at the end, makes us more tolerant, have more empathy, and be more knowledgeable of different cultures/traditions/etc.
I consider myself to be very tolerant and this is due to the school I went to and the people I’ve met in my travels. When I was about to enter high school, my parents, without knowing put my brother and I, in a school the majority of its students were considered a “minority”. The majority of students were African Americans or Hispanics. Most of my life I was surrounded by “white” people. My first day of school at Dunbar High School was extremely scary. I had this idea of African Americans and Hispanics that was absolutely inaccurate. On my last day of high school, I was so proud that I had graduated from this high school. Not only were the teachers great, but I learned the most valuable lesson: don’t judge people before meeting them, give them a chance and most people are nice.
Having that said, I hope you enjoyed the post and hopefully you’ve had a similar experience as I did or maybe even a better one.