Recently, I shared an innocent news article on Facebook outlining Pennsylvania’s plan to accept Syrian refugees. Almost immediately, I received backlash over the issue and it was then I realized many of my fellow citizens didn’t view the issue the same way I had. They didn’t see this as a wonderful refreshing start for terrified Syrian citizens as I did. Instead of arguing the hypocrisy behind these statements thrown my direction, I intern took pen to paper, or rather fingers to keyboard.
Major backlash has occurred because many American citizens believe these Syrian refugees are looking for entry to our country as a way to act as terrorists. I understand the fear that accompanies these arrivals. They’re afraid, you’re afraid, I’m afraid, we’re all on some level afraid of the situation and on a deeper level, one another. This hate is fueled by misunderstanding and fear.
We’re immediately lumping these refugees with terrorists. We’re letting someone else’s actions define people we don’t even know. We’re forgetting our ancestors came across the ocean much like these refugees, afraid and alone. These Syrian refugees are coming to America as hopefuls to succeed and prosper.
We classify ourselves as Americans, which for every right mind we are. But, I believe we tend to forget that we’re not of one dimensional nationality. We’re not only American. We’ve all come from a multitude of backgrounds. Many of us are part Italian, Polish, German, etc., the list goes on and on to the point where many of us don’t even know what percentage of what heritage we are. Many of our nth generational grandparents came to America on the bases of the American dream. The great hopes this land held for them. Are we ridding ourselves of the American dream if we’ve become so belligerent on who can and cannot enter this nation?
The truth of the matter is, the majority of these refugees are innocent citizens caught in the cross fires of war. We cannot assume they all have the same agenda. Many of them are just looking towards a brighter future. With the correct screening processes implicated, we should be offering these hopefuls a promising chance at a future. A race, religion, sex, or preference does not define a human being. We define ourselves based on the choices we make. I remember as a child my father outlining that there is good and bad in every group of people. We shouldn’t make biased decisions based on what we think we know or what we assume. We should be treating these individuals as we would want to be treated if we were unfortunate enough to ever be put in their position. As not only a nation, but as a race we should be promoting humanity in all aspects, not just as it benefits us.