August 21, 2019

Incident Inspired by Border Policy Underscores Importance of Empathy

To the Editor:

Our society has been trained to believe that obtaining a high SAT score, getting into a great college, and, of course, making as much money as possible (greed), are the true signs of success. What society fails to recognize and more importantly teach, is empathy and compassion.

My daughter’s boyfriend, who is serving in the military, was eating in a Mexican restaurant on the West Coast. He is Puerto Rican and Guatemalan. He purchased his meal and sat down to eat it when two white people, a man and a woman, approached him saying “you need to go back to Mexico and die, you rapist drug dealer,” took his food, threw it on the floor, and left the restaurant.

What is happening at the border is a clearly reminiscent of what occurred in Europe in 1939. In the United States today if you have brown or black skin you are a target for hatred. History is clearly repeating itself here in the United States.

Camps, cages, outright verbal abuse, and attacks on people who are different, in this case non-white, are eerily similar to spewing hatred and committing atrocities towards someone with a different religion.

What is very frightening is many people do not appear to be shocked any more, it is as if this behavior is normal and now an accepted practice in society. We must speak out and do what we can, even if it as simple as writing a letter. Exhibiting behaviors and acting on one’s moral compass is an act that is never too small or insignificant.

We are all human beings. Equal in every way. Race, religion, sexual orientation are what make us more interesting and unique. It requires emotional intelligence to fully grasp this concept.

We must, not should, MUST teach our children that compassion, empathy, generosity, integrity, and genuine kindness are the true signs of intelligence.

I challenge everyone reading this letter, starting today, to say something kind to someone, do a kind act for someone, volunteer at home front for one day, and more importantly perform a kind act in front of a young person. It is so true, actions speak louder than words. Kindness is never overrated.

We must learn from the past. Right now the United States does not have a good look. Stop the ignorance, vote in 2020.

Kate Dunn