Bahai News -- Chron Watch - "Another Prof Insists on NutWatch Designation"

"Another Prof Insists on NutWatch Designation"

Posted by the ChronWatch Founder, Jim Sparkman
Monday, January 20, 2003

       This is getting serious! The professors are threatening a complete takover of NutWatch.  Check this one out.  It's from MaineToday.com.    It would be ever so funny if he weren't teaching our kids.  I mean, really, this guy is just too much!

Path Now Open to Becoming World Citizens in the 21st Century

       Racism is a disease that affects everyone.  Diversity is a statement of fact; multiculturalism is a representation of the value of inclusiveness.  The whole Earth is my home. I am part of, and have a loyalty to, all of humanity.

       These are just a few of the realizations that have become most important to me.  Personal experiences--childhood friends of many ethnicities, and young adult travels to Africa, the Azores and Norway, where I was welcomed by strangers and invited into their homes--have allowed me to know what it feels like to be a world citizen, and still serve as a firm foundation for a growing commitment to diversity and multicultural efforts.

       Having just returned from a ''Semester at Sea'' voyage around the world, the statement made by Baha'u'llah 150 years ago, ''The Earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens,'' means more to me now than ever.

       From our tour guide in Hiroshima whose father was a survivor of the atom bomb dropped on the day I was born, to the Masaai warrior in Kenya who called me his ''brother,'' to the students at the University of Havana, who spoke with me honestly about their country, I have seen up close how, in the words of Maya Angelou, ''we are more alike than we are unalike.''

       We are one human family, with our differences and our similarities both contributing equally to our undeniable link with each other.

       We, as Mainers, as Americans, owe our ultimate allegiance to humanity. The Passamaquoddy basketmaker in Princeton, the Honduran migrant worker in Bridgton, the Somali refugee in Lewiston, the Cambodian refugee in Biddeford and the Iranian student at Portland High are all my friends, even if I don't know them personally; their human rights are tied to mine.

       Even though I was born with certain unearned ''white privileges,'' anything I have access to that they don't, I feel uncomfortable with.

       I value the completeness of multiculturalism. Diversity brings about beauty and enriches everything else around it, as in a multihued flower garden. Multiculturalism becomes a primary value when we recognize the oneness of humanity.

       Becoming a world citizen means widening our allegiance, seeing the world as one.  In many ways, Mainers have long been world-minded. We have been resettling refugees from five continents now for more than 22 years.  The World Affairs Council of Maine has been promoting international programs for 25 years.

       World-mindedness will continue to grow here.  I do believe, even though we are a vastly white state, that most of us share this understanding. But there is still much hard work to do here.

       We must educate ourselves to think globally, to see the entire planet as one, to see the interdependence of all peoples and then work locally for social and economic justice within our own means. We have already come very far in this process.

       In our long collective history, we have developed a loyalty to family, to tribe, to city-state and to our nation.  Now our final step is developing a loyalty to humanity.  Each of these loyalties requires adopting a more inclusive worldview.   The first lessons in world citizenship start in the home, and need to be taught in every school from kindergarten through college.

       My role as a university diversity scholar is primarily to be an ally and advocate for people of all ethnicities and backgrounds.  I want my work to be focused on helping to bring about unity in diversity.

       Our challenge today is to make friends with humanity.  Our newcomers have much to teach us about resilience, about aspirations, about home and the complexities of identity.

       I want to call upon the elders and other members of our diverse communities to tell us what it is like to struggle to attain what most of us take for granted. Over the coming months, I will be planning activities that bring about collaborations, dialogues and discussions designed to create learning opportunities by building bridges between us.

       With privilege comes responsibility.  As Gerald Talbot, Maine's first African-American state legislator, has often pointed out, it is up to white people to help change things in Maine.  As a white person, Maine's diversity issues are my issues, too.  It is up to all of us in Maine to try to learn all we can from each other.

Robert Atkinson, Ph.D., is a professor and diversity scholar in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Southern Maine, and a member of the Maine Refugee Advisory Council of Maine.

©Copyright 2003, Chron Watch

Following is the URL to the original story. The site may have removed or archived this story. URL: http://www.chronwatch.com/content/contentDisplay.asp?aid=1344


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