Countless students that attend American public schools often question the worth of completing graded timed-essays in English classes. But writers have an invaluable skill that can be applied to the real-world that enables us to understand various points-of-view, regardless of the extent to which they contradict our own. A recent conversation with a classmate and friend of mine brought me to realize the value of appreciating diverse perspectives.
As a Muslim woman who practices the hijab, I strive to not only represent my religion well but also help others understand it. For instance, I provided a religious and personal perspective on the hijab to my friend, Matthew. After I finished, he said, “If someone said something (negative) about your hijab, I would get offended.” Despite that he neither practices my faith nor identifies with a minority race, Matthew was able to understand the complexity of a perspective that does not align with his own. Because he and I honor diverse perspectives, we foster peace and coexistence with people of other races, gender identities, religions, and more. We are individuals who do not condemn others for being “different,” but rather, honor unique points-of-view.
As there have been frequent incidents of religious discrimination and police brutality, it is crucial to defend those who may be subject to these injustices. Writing has encouraged us to defend other members of our community regardless of whether they share the same beliefs as we do. I do not partake of the LBGTQ community, but I am still proud to defend and honor anyone who is. I do not identify as African-American, yet reading about instances of police brutality strikes negative emotions within me. I do not have to be the victim of discrimination or injustice to empathize with those who are.
Matthew’s kind words are reminiscent of another instance during which my classmate, Elliott, supported me for speaking out against religious discrimination. I shared an argumentative essay that condemns the banning of Muslims at the rallies of GOP frontrunner, Donald Trump. Upon doing so, Elliott told me, “If anyone ever gives you problems, I will stand behind you!” I am so proud to be a part of an inclusive community in which people of various faiths and races stand beside me. After frequent reflection of both of the instances that my peers expressed their support for me, I noticed a similarity between Matthew and Elliott. Both of these kind individuals are writers.
The ability to honor diverse perspectives regardless of whether they align with our own is a skill that writing fosters. To all the students who groan before the start of every timed-essay, the art of writing is helping you a build a skill that could stick with you for a lifetime. A skill that promotes unity, social justice, and coexistence.