• In this day and age, in the year 2016, I’m embarrassed to say that, for safety reasons, I have to think about what my kids, and I, are going to wear when we leave the house. No, I’m not talking about taking safety gear for sports (such as, helmets, knee pads, sunglasses, etc.) or weather into consideration. I’m talking about what outfit they’re going to wear in order to not draw attention to themselves or show allegiance to any specific religion or culture to preserve their safety. You never know which side people are on these days, so I consciously try to dress them in neutral attire. You never know where the next radical extremist is going to strike. It bothers me to have to think like this or have to write about it in this public forum. But it’s reality!

    I bring this up because we’re planning a family trip to Europe and I’m overwhelmed with all the security warnings from the different regions. What is going on with the world today? Have we regressed to medieval times or gone back to a world of uneducated cavemen? Not that I have anything against cavemen or anything, if you’re out there. I’m all for respecting other cultures, as I come from a diverse background myself. But having to fear for my family’s safety based on perception of worshiping one religion over another or coming from a different cultural background is absurd to me. What have we come to?

    I understand that abuse and war based on religion, racism or prejudices have been around forever. But it makes no sense to me how anyone can justify harming someone else in the name of religion? Or how you even call that a religion? It sounds more like a cult, a la Charles Manson, to me. None the less, I keep hoping that society will improve through education and cultural awareness. Unfortunately, that is not the reality today as it appears that some people benefit (financially, socially and strategically) from keeping the hatred and animosity alive. Just look at our current terrorist attacks occurring worldwide and history or wars.

    Out of necessity, people are forced to go into survival mode and conform to travel and attire recommendations to preserve the safety of their family. Unfortunately, this feeds into this cycle of abuse and empowers the bullies. Much like how rape victims are sometimes wrongfully encouraged to curb their attire to prevent re-victimization. It sends the wrong message and I hate letting the perpetrators win. People need to unite and stand up to these bullies in large numbers and not just standby if you’re not being targeted. Because, one day, you will be! Verbalize injustices and be confident that you’re doing nothing wrong. They (the bullies) are the ones that need to conform, be educated and disciplined to correct their behaviors, not the victims!