Preempting prejudice

The letter titled Race wild card by Eric Marlow (Oct. 10) shows that there is still a lot of ignorance in the world. Apparently he missed my point about the importance of acknowledging ethnic and racial differences in America. Although vaguely stated, Marlow suggests that there isn’t a big difference between Arabs, Pakistanis and Indians. But this is not true. There is a big difference between the three groups. That was the whole point of my article. Ethnic and racial identification is important because it continues to influence how we view and define ourselves and others.

Eric Marlow asks if I am a northern Yankee aristocrat, a southern confederate or a cowboy from the west, etc. Well, Mr. Marlow, I am a Baltimorian, I love the Ravens and O’s. I vote republican. I also am very close to my Pakistani culture. All of these things combined define me. I do not know how to categorize that under one group that would appease Mr. Marlow.

The problem with Marlow’s questioning is that he does not understand the importance of people having a strong sense of who they are. By understanding who we are, we enable ourselves to better understand others. Ignorance begets ignorance, leading to prejudices and racism. Unfortunately, Mr. Marlow’s message seems to promote pre-Civil War notions of self-identity in America. The face of America is changing rapidly and with change, Americans need to adapt, to better understand the cultures and values of their fellow citizens. This is necessary to advance as a nation. Ignorance divides and creates hate; look at the example of Palestinians and Israelis. Let us not be a victim of this disease. Atif Qarni, senior

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