Teaching children acceptance through food
I hate the word tolerance. Tolerance is for unruly pets and toddlers. It not for educating people about acceptance. We should never tolerate people because of who they are. Tolerance is a demeaning word.
We should preach acceptance. Accept people for who they are.
We live in a time where we, as a nation, are sharply divided. The politics of hate is rife on both sides of the political spectrum. Racism, anti-ethnic sentiment, anti-immigrant sentiment, anti-semitism, and other negative tropes are prevalent in our society.
Political issues, social issues, and cultural issues have turned us into a nation of haters.
Headlines, social media, mainstream media, and so-called conservative, liberal, progressive media and other media fuel hatred, prejudice, bias, and discrimination of the other- whoever the other may be.
The talk of building walls, keeping people out because of ignorance and lack of education (That piece of paper people get when graduating college, or grad school is not education and does not denote intelligence. It is a certificate of competing courses. Nothing more nothing less. Many of the most institutionally educated people are the most ignorant)
How do we teach our children that there is no other? How do we show them that all people are people? How do we instruct them in humanity and acceptance?
We do this education through food. When you take your children out to eat, do not go to the chain, franchise, or popular national places like McGarbage King, Chipolpoison, Kentucky Fried Popeye, Olive Garbage, or others.
Take them real ethnic restaurants owned by real ethnic people.
This has two advantages. First, they will eat real ethnic food. Second, they will see the food prepared by what is considered the other. If the place has great food, the other will be eating there. Another plus.
Take your children to real Mexican, Chinese, Middle Eastern, African, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Somali, Jewish, Indian, Soul Food, or other ethnic restaurants. Let them experience the food and the people.
Food brings people together. It makes us understand other cultures. There is no good or bad food, just like there are no good or bad people. There is good or badly prepared food. Just like there is good or bad people.
Food is the best way to experience the culture of others. Food is tied to culture, especially around certain holidays.
Cuisine has the power to help us understand each other. It is communal. When you eat out, you are joining a community of cooks and eaters enjoying the pleasures of their table.
Street fairs, where food is served, is another way to experience the culture of others. There are many fairs, exhibitions, and cultural events throughout the summer. They are in all the neighborhoods. They have food too.
Your children will be able to mingle with people from all ethnicities, races, and sometimes religions.
Food has the power to unite. It has the power to make us understand a culture. It is one of the most powerful ways people can experience other people.
Take your children to places where they can see and appreciate every culture in your area. If we, as a society, are ever going to accept people for who they are, we must teach our children acceptance. Food is the one of the best ways to do that.