Defining and discussing political and moral lines is imperative to our education.
BY EDITORIAL BOARD
Being tasked with writing a staff editorial about racism is harder than you may think. While the obvious choice would be to write a couple of paragraphs about how we as a community need to overcome racism (which is a statement we at Arlingtonian all support), those who are reading this most likely also agree with us, and frankly, there’s no purpose in repeating what we already know.
Therein lies the issue with this movement toward diversity, equity and inclusion—particularly in Upper Arlington: we’re only preaching to those who already support it. Everyone who attends seminars and discussions on racism and inclusion agrees that the culture in Upper Arlington needs to be changed. Since nobody wants to have their ideals proved wrong, those who disagree with a move toward inclusion aren’t going to be participating in these vital conversations.
So that leaves us with one question: How do we reach across political lines to begin fostering these discussions?
As unpopular as this sounds, maybe social media isn’t the great communication tool we as a society have been waiting for to solve our problems. Sure, reposting Instagram stories on political correctness can’t hurt, but it’s only informative to those who take the time to look at it rather than just scrolling or tapping to the next post. While criticizing our favorite celebrities for their mistakes may be entertaining for a day, the discourse in the Twitter replies only serves to create even more division between the far-left and far-right, leaving those of us in the middle at a loss. Although we have created a culture where being canceled on social media is a form of modern day exile, when things get too heated online, we can still just power off our phones and avoid experiencing any more difficult conversations that make us question even our own actions. Unless we bring Parisian salons or English intellectual coffee houses into the new year, there are few opportunities to bridge political divides and bring back friendly civic debates about tax cuts, social services and military spending. That is, unless we bring these political discussions into the classroom, where teachers can create a conversation about diversity and where empathy can be taught.
Even more, we must begin creating unity with mutual respect, and yes, that includes acknowledging each other’s pronouns and sexual orientation because identity shouldn’t be political. Maybe it’s the nostalgia from the 2012 mock presidential election held at Barrington Elementary, but it’s easy to miss the days when politics had little to do with government insurrections and more to do with the economy.
Until we get back to that point, we can try our best to mend relations by just taking even a moment to attempt to understand each other rather than labeling each other as either a “liberal snowflake” or a “right-wing fascist.” As cliched as it might be, maybe the idiom, “walk a mile in my shoes” is overused for a reason.
Now might be the perfect time for the country to come together, under a new president, facing polar vortexes and a seemingly never-ending pandemic because nothing is more unifying than a shared struggle. That’s supposed to be the American way, right?