Dear Editor: I spoke yesterday to a young woman at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin. She told me that, since the election, her children had been increasingly harassed in school. A Latino friend of mine told me about racist comments in his workplace. A rabbi I know mentioned the sudden uptick in anti-Semitic attacks. Muslim people are more under the gun than ever.

The hate and resentment that were simmering below the surface of our society are now out there for all to see and hear. The most common, and probably most natural, reaction to this kind of bigotry is for the people on the receiving end of prejudice to retreat into their group, to seek the comfort and safety of their own tribe. People become increasingly suspicious of outsiders. Society splinters into isolated communities that view each other with fear.

This normal reaction is exactly the wrong response to take. This is a time for us to reach out more than ever. This is the time for us to meet with strangers and build new and unexpected relationships. We need to look at others and recognize our common humanity. We need to do this now.

Francis Pauc

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