Yesterday’s post got me thinking.
Racism blows. We can reiterate that until we’re blue in the face.
And qualifying my perspective as being that of a white person isn’t nearly enough.
I need to qualify myself as educated, white, woman, and liberal.
That changes things.
I compared it to being gay. (Why? I don’t know – it was the easiest [not the best] way to make my point during our lunch discussion.) I spend so much time around my gay friends that I don’t see them as gay. It’s normalized for me. It’s not a thing. There’s no need to draw a line, to point out the distinctions, to separate.
I want my kids to be so exposed to people that they stop seeing lines and start seeing people.
It’s the same as being _____. [Insert “other” there.]
The more we talk about “other,” the more we emphasize it. The more we dwell.
Then I started thinking about the real world. (Sighing as I type this. Oh, real world.) There’s not as much integration, not as much teamwork, community building, respect, tolerance….my list could go on…. as there could be. Certain solutions to “other”-ism or “other”-phobia aren’t going to work for people with different mindsets – I forget that. The solution remains elusive.
But I would like to point out that even as we evolve to tolerate and eventually accept one “other,” we replace it with another “other.”
Division based on class differences, social differences, education differences: we’re all guilty of it. I think part of being human is forming bonds with people who share similarities to you and then ostracizing people who don’t have those interests, features, or characteristics. It’s up to us to transcend that.
It’s hard, though. I judge stupid people for doing stupid things. I’m sure people judge me for doing stupid shit all the time. I judge girls who wear Ugg boots, yet I get judged for my “if you can’t wear it with black flats, why are you wearing it at all?” mentality (I do consider that judgement entirely deserved, for the record. I’ve grown out of Birkenstock mode…at least until I find my other black clog). I really try to promote a sense of solidarity among women, yet I know a few women I’d like to punch in the face. So here I am, being just as much of a hypocrite as the rest of us. At least I’m thinking about it, though.
Granted, we all aren’t going to get along. It’s not possible. But we should at least strive to respect and understand. Also, not possible. But ideal. And beautiful.
I was going to post last week about the suicide of a gay teen on the East Coast. I didn’t. I was too disgusted (not by him, by his tormentors). After his death, the people who taunted him continued to do so. They said they were glad he was dead. That the world was a better place. For him, it didn’t get better. That’s one reason we need to stop spreading hate.
That night I was watching the Big Bang Theory at home. And this clip really put it all into perspective for me. Please watch it.
A girl brings home a rather unintelligent date, and her neighbors (all science geeks) make fun of him mercilessly.
Zach (date): “Oh, I see. You guys are inferring that I’m stupid.”
Sheldon (one of the neighbors): “That’s not correct. We were implying it. You then inferred it.”
Penny (girl): “You know, for a group of guys who claim they spent most of their lives being bullied, you can be real jerks. Shame on all of you.”