Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Equality, Prejudice, Sadness, Frustration & Disgust.

Okay, as you can see, this is a heavy post. Probably foolish of me to embark on it since I have to get ready for work very shortly. But I've been reading the news lately. I don't usually. It only frustrates me and makes me very angry. But I've been online more, and headlines have (sometimes literally) popped out at me. . . and well, there you go.

"All men are created equal."
Define equal for me. We have different talents, abilities. Some are smart (Hello Steve Hawking, Al Einstein, et al), some (being politically incorrect here) SOOOOO aren't. Some are strong, some physically handicapped. It takes all kinds to make a world, and I truly believe we all have a purpose. I'm never going to be a powerlifter, or a scientific powerhouse. But I can write novels, and short stories, and scripts, which some other people can only aspire to.

Recently I've been reading about kids who have commit suicide due to bullying. Two of them. One male, one female. And I read about the lesbian student whose school canceled the prom rather than have her attend with a female student. (And who since had two proms, one where she was invited attended by a whopping 7 students many of whom are learning disabled; and another, to which she was NOT invited, attended by the majority of the students.)

I don't know that we will ever truly be able to stomp out bullying. Even in nature there are packs. To survive animals group themselves into "us" and "them" and try to drive off the "intruders." They select the strongest (sometimes the brightest, but definitely the strongest) to protect themselves. It's called "natural selection" and "survival of the fittest." And ultimately, we are animals.

BUT, that said, we should try. Truly. Because while we are animals. We are also PEOPLE. With intellect and effort we can work to effect change. And change will not happen without WORK.

Am I uncomfortable when I am the only white in a neighborhood filled with people of another color? Oh hell yeah. And it gives me a clue how that first child being bussed to another school must have felt, under GUARD going to a strange place, among people she didn't know, who obviously didn't want her there must have felt.

When I was in high school football players and cheerleaders ruled. And some of them packed up, and became assholes and abusive. Others didn't, for the record. But I remember the ones who did---vividly. But I also remember how helpless the "powers that be" felt and truly WERE. They couldn't be there 24/7. If they protected you in school, you could be damned sure you'd pay for it after. Does that mean they shouldn't protect students in school? NO. But it means that as outsiders they can't impose their beliefs and morality on others wholesale in only one area of life and make it stick.

The change in attitudes has to be across the board. At home; in school; in outside-of-school arenas. And it has to start from infancy. Which means that parents, with their own prejudices and history of pain have to step up to the plate and say "I want to do better for my kid. I want to BE better for my kid. And I'm willing to work against my ingrained behaviors to do it."

Some will/do. Some won't/don't.

Again, for example I use the civil rights movement. We have come a long way. Are we there yet? Consistently? Without blemish and throughout the country and the world? Hell no. I feel like the little kid in the back seat "Are we there yet?" "No honey, not yet."

Will we ever get there?

I don't know. But it's worth the trip. Hell, I'll even chip in for the gas.


Anonymous said...

I agree with you. How does 2 young women dancing together create such a feeling of fear? Why is a young Irish girl so threatening that others that they feel compelled to hound her to death. Why are some people so threatened by those that are different? My father grew up in southern Missouri and was pretty open about his negative feelings about African Americans. My mother was raised in same area but believed that we should judge people individually - color is just an aspect of who they are. I try very hard to be open minded and to pass that belief on to my kids. My youngest son came home from kindergarten telling me about the most beautiful girl ever. He was in love with a girl whose parents were African American and Asian and she is beautiful and smart and very sweet. Her "race" wasn't even an issue for him. He thought the color of her skin was just one of the pretty things about her.

Tammy said...

I have to agree with you both. Will we ever get there? I don't know, but I hope so.

I know in the small town I grew up in it was very "clannish" for want of a better word. There were NO houses available for anyone of color in this town until I graduated, and there were no families in town either. My sister however, went to school with 1 boy that was African American, but his family didn't get to live in this town until my sister was in High School - my sister is 4 years younger than I am by the way. Nowdays, the town is still "clannish" the one African American family that lived here do longer does, and the 3 mixed race familes that lived in the township have also moved.

To me it's a giant step backward seeing them leave, I hope that some day other familes will move in, but who knows. The town doens't seem to encourage them. And yeah I still live in the town - but I live out in the boondocks of it - farm country.

Dolly said...

Well said everyone. I'm like you Cie, I actively avoid the news. Not sticking my head in the sand, I read a lot on the internet but I can't stand the angst on news shows. It completely upsets my stomach.

I like to say I'm more liberal than my parents ever were. They grew up in the south and all African Americans were called the "n" word.

I now live in a state that is just as bad. I didn't pick it for that reason but to be in the country and near my family.

I spent 20 years in the military and dealt with all races and really didn't have a problem. My motto was and is treat people how you would like to be treated and just do your job.

The second part of my thoughts are these and I don't mean any disrespect to anyone. We continue to enable different people to play the race cards. I dislike the term Asian-American, African-American. We are ALL Americans. However, our country and its people are not ready for that yet unfortunately.

I am extremely frustrated by the direction this country and this world is headed. Now I have to go calm down.

Tammy said...

((HUG)) Dolly, one of my grandmother's, and mother's sayings were - To treat each and every person you meet with respect and kindness no matter what color their skin/nationality/beliefs. Because you may have just met your best friend. Another one of their sayings was - Treat everyone as you'd expect to be treated.