Michael Shukry

Over Coming Cultural Conflict

My name is Michael J. Shukry and I grew up in an Arab-American household here in the United States where my families culture was vastly different from those of my peers. While I have come to appreciate and value my heritage today, I can honestly look back and recognize that hasn’t always been the case. Growing up in the American educational system I experienced firsthand how culturally blink and insensitive the system was with regards to our particular culture.

Looking at my picture you would never guess that I was an Arab. In fact, most people mistaken me as Caucasian. You may wonder to yourself, how is being mistaken as white a problem in todays social climate where “white privilege” is widely held as a reality? In answering that question, two words come to mind – cultural conflict.

I have recently had the opportunity of learning that for an effective education to take root in a student, the educator must take into account the whole student. This is known as the Holistic approach, where different aspects of the student. Personal life are considered, such as his/her culture and how they perceive the world around them. Allow me to share with you how I believe such a system of equity was absent in my educational experience.

When I Was in the 1st Grade

Amount of resilience in the face of such adversity. My point in highlighting my experience with cultural conflict in the educational system, is not to place blame, but to bring awareness to our youth about how special our differences are.

We are all made different, and it is through this differentness that life is given flavor and an ever-evolving fresh perspective. So, if I can accomplish anything through telling my story it’s this – Embrace what makes you different. Understand that much of the time people are afraid of what they don’t understand, and that’s not your burden to bear, it’s theirs. Loving yourself for who you are will enable you to embrace the differences around you.

Lastly, to those within the educational system, allow me to admit that it is difficult to judge a situation not having known the depths of your experience or your belief. However, today as a society we are dealing with certain unfortunate realities, such as the school-to-prison pipeline, or worse yet, mass school shootings. These realities reflect the vulnerability of our youth and should remind us of the special type of person it takes to teach them.

Helping People Heal