Though Benjamin doesn’t explicitly mention religion in her argument, religious affiliation undoubtedly involves a multitude of connections with others and the world around you. As a member of the Jewish community, I face challenges on a daily basis. These obstacles, though difficult, I do not categorize as conflict. In connection with Benjamin’s ideology of mutual recognition, I have found that being a member of a minority religious group has allowed me to fully understand and connect with other religions. Even though I have different beliefs and values, I have found a way to empathize with other belief systems. For example, when the anti-semetic hate crimes struck the OPRF community in 2018 and again in 2022, I was devastated and angry. Instead of ragging out on members of other religious groups – that were possibly seen as a threat to mine – I took this as an opportunity to connect with those who inflicted this damage. After taking some time to reflect on the situation, I understood that misconceptions are prone in our current society to heal these misconceptions, we must educate ourselves and those of other backgrounds.
This is a prime example of Benjamin’s idea of mutual recognition – a profound understanding of who I am, which comes with recognizing someone else as an equal human; and the process of them recognizing me as equal. At the time, those who participated in this hate crime on the jewish community did not see us as equal. When education and connection prevailed, change and respect for my religion occurred. Those who once viewed minority religions as less than now bond over the same values that we all share.