When I was in elementary school, we had a Diversity Day kind of thing where everyone was asked to bring in something that represented a holiday or a tradition they had in their family. I celebrate Diwali, so I brought in a clay lamp called a diya that we put candles in and light up around the house. This particular diya had a swastika painted on it. In Hinduism, a swastika has been a symbol of prosperity and luck for thousands of years. When I brought my object in to share with the class, the kid next to me noticed the symbol first. He asked me why I’d brought in the Nazi symbol and when I tried to explain that that wasn’t what it meant, he refused to listen. Throughout the entire activity, he would periodically look over and laugh at the diya, and by the end I was so frustrated with it I was ready to hit him to shut him up.
The reason this phrase comes to mind when I think about race is because it reminds me of the negative attitudes some people have towards learning about other cultures. I’m sure my classmate didn’t know better at the time, and he probably wouldn’t do the same thing today, but I definitely know people who would. I think one of the greatest benefits of living in a diverse country is actually being able to learn about other cultures, and I feel like everyone should at least try to take advantage of that.