I am not a fan of bigotry, yet I fully admit that I have my own biases. As woman of African-American descent(what does that even mean anymore…)I often assume that I must “prove” myself more than some of my lighter skinned comrades.
And in some cases, I’m totally correct in that assessment. Yet, there are times I become hypersensitive and miss an opportunity to really connect with someone. I use the term hypersensitive in the idea that I’m putting words in someone’s mouth (or brain). It is a defense mechanism that I’ve had since childhood. Growing up in Louisiana, it was rare that a child of color unabashedly spoke of their love of learning. If there was such a child, they were treated as an anomaly, or worse, bullied. I can still remember the taunts and conversations I had to deal with growing up:
Why do you act so white?
You’re not really black are you?
Black people aren’t supposed to like that.
Black people don’t _____________
And that was just from my black classmates. My white classmates looked at me with a sense of confusion, amusement, or fear. Those who were confused by me usually *got it* by the time they actually talked to me. I’m still friends with some of them currently. Same thing with those I amused. Because I tended to just say the oddest things(my brain works differently…yay add!). I am still friends with them also (Hi Kyle! Hi Travis!).
Those that feared me did the same thing that my black classmates would do, but with a twist. Some would assume making coon jokes was a great idea. The N word was used at times. At a fair with my cousins, some man who was at least three times our age kept taunting us. It took my cousin Danielle to help me out in that situation.
In all those situations it became very clear to me that I was *different*. To the black classmates, I was some stuck up broad who needed frequent beat downs to be kept in line. To the white classmates, I was a subhuman weirdo.
Because their parents said so.
Children tend to soak in a lot more than we think they do, which should be obvious. If a child hears degrading remarks about who they are, then they will naturally assume everyone is screwed up just like them or better than them. This fosters a feeling of helplessness and rage. If a child is in a chaotic home, continually hearing how minorities are the enemy then why are people surprised when they grow up and join a terrorist group like the klan or nation of islam?
If an adult has free license to say every hateful thing they think or have heard in front of a child, then why is surprise often the first response? If you tell a child that gay people are an abomination, muslims aren’t real Americans, and that minorities came from eve banging random animals do not be alarmed that they treat others with disrespect. You should expect it, to be honest. Because what you keep at the forefront in a child’s mind or model with your behavior is what you are going to end up with.
I know many are wondering why I am saying such strong words. It is because it needs to be said.
The rash of suicides, homicides, and hate group activity is not because of a lack of God. These actions occur from the cognitive dissonance many who claim to be good Christian people have. You say that you love God, yet you tell your child that if they marry outside their race or the same sex that you will cut them off. Or worse murder them.
You tell your child that they are Nothing and will never be anything. You beat them, use them for your twisted desires, and break their spirit. All because you do not have the internal fortitude to deal with your demons.
You complain loudly about a monkey being in the white house and call our Muslim brothers and sisters ‘towelheads’.
You come off with this façade of superiority, only to cover your cowardice and emptiness. You join with others who are just as damaged as you, and say that you are richer.
It’s a never ending cycle folks. I rarely quote the bible, but it says that you should train a child in the way THEY should go. This gives the idea that the child might be ‘bent’ in a direction and you are to love, foster, and aid that child to be the best they can be. You are not to shove your dogma, bigotry, and desire for the elimination of all different people/things into them. To do so is to damage them, which then leads to a damaged adult who does some very screwed up things.
So, on this 9/11 we need to remember that for the most part, we can change the world. It’s as simple as volunteering in a poor area or teaching your kids to respect and love others. I do not say tolerate, because one should only tolerate broccoli or badly done fish, not people.