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Rumi and Race
Today, race plays a role in the everyday life of Americans. Race dips its hand into everything, from education and politics to sports and entertainment. Ever since the first slave ship came to America and especially after the Civil War; race has been thrust into the forefront of America’s view and remains there today. The issues of minority and majority rights dominate American society. Americans not only concern themselves with a person’s character and intellect, but also the color of their skin.
Rumi states “that blind man may be worth a hundred kings. Remember the proverb, Human beings are mines” (Rumi 222). Rumi means don’t judge people on appearances, like the old saying: don’t judge a book by its cover. Applied to today, Rumi would tell Americans not worry about what someone looks like, because inside we are all the same and come from the same creator. Without concentrating on the color of someone’s skin America would be a better place to live. There would be no issues today concerning affirmative action, discrimination, hate crimes, and stereotypes. When race plays a role in America, it just causes more problems for Americans to deal with. By applying Rumi’s view on people, everyone would be happier, and would not have to be reminded of what they look like, day after day.
Also, Rumi says, “people who insult me are only polishing the mirror” (Rumi 223). This statement is based on the theme, that the way a person treats you only reflects on them. For example, if a person mistreats and degrades someone because of superficial differences. An evil and degenerate is the view people have of this person. Therefore his own actions are reflected upon himself and that changes how people view him.
This can also be applied to Americas’ present struggle with race. American society is open to particular ideologies and mythologies about different ethnicities, because it is so concerned with the color of one’s skin. These ideologies and myths degrade and stereotype a culture that people grow up in. These stereotypes reflect back upon American society as a whole and create racial tension and discrimination among the millions of Americans who reside in this country.
You Professor, asked your students if people in America are Americans first or, for example, Jewish Americans not American Jewish. This question symbolizes the racial struggle that America is dealing with today. To be politically correct, people automatically assume that people identify with their ethnic group first and then America. This is wrong! Identifying with ethnic groups and not as Americans without a race is the problem today. If America were based on Rumi’s philosophy, Americans would be Americans first and their ethnicities second. Race would not be an issue in describing a person.
Rumi says, “the palm and the fingers in the dark are how the senses explore the reality of the elephant. If each of us held a candle there, and if we went in together, we could see it” (Rumi 252). Exactly, if Americans wanted to limit the role of race in today’s life, we must do it together. Americans have to come together and realize that race is just an appearance and does not represent someone’s character. The only way to overcome the struggles of race is to learn together, about each other.
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