I haven't done one of these in a while and I don't really have a reason so I won't try to invent one. So... sorry.
Alright then, for my return to blogging, I'll do something a little different. I'm going to talk about a news article from The New York Times, which can be found here.
My first thoughts after reading this article were about the somewhat successful campaign to send one Catholic and one Protestant Irish student to stay with an American family and try to form a friendship between the two adolescents. I remember reading about those experiments a few years ago in the local newspaper and remember thinking about the situation and what it may be like to be sent to a foreign country with someone you were trained to distrust and dislike from birth. Tricky situations abound in those households, I'm sure. This situation is different of course for several reasons. The first and most significant is that they are remaining in their home country, merely changing homes. This contaminates the results because one person will be more comfortable and will theoretically have the upperhand and more control because they are allowed to remain in their most familiar setting. When they moved the subjects to another country, both were out of their element and misplaced. Another interesting factor is the age of the people involved. The people who were subjects during the first study were in their teen years, at an age when people are often more openminded. They had only been retaining negative propganda about they other group for less than two decades, while the adults had been influenced for 30 or 40 some years.
My second train of thought centered around the theme of personal behaviors. In the article they talk about one of the new couples who got along well and one couple who were at odds throughout the course of the show. I think this may be more because of behavioral differances than because of cultural ones. It seems the ones who got along well had similar roles within their homes as well as similar styles of personality. As for the couple who fought constantly, their biggest issue looks to be a clash of character. It was their shared inability to compromise and recognize kind gestures, not their cultural backround that fouled up their time together. My thought is that the racial and ethnic slurs just happened to be the first arms on their swiss army knife of insults. They easily come to mind in times of high energy arguements that sometimes take over our minds and stop us from forming logical crotiqueing patterns.
On the whole, I think this practice of introducing people of two opposite religions or backrounds will be very helpful in our world if we all choose to get to know individuals and be careful of the names we call those we don't get along with. The world can be completly transformed if we use our brains and our hearts.