Sunday, September 25, 2011

My life as a bigot

Posted By on Sun, Sep 25, 2011 at 10:41 AM

He who allows oppression shares the crime. —Erasmus Darwin

Raised in the military as I was, I was able to see the reality of what has often been referred to as the “Great Melting Pot” in action. Our parents came from all walks of life - all religions, all races, and all beliefs were in full evidence. Those of us raised in the test tube environment that was the military could no more envision racism or any other sort of prejudice than we could imagine the moon falling from the sky.

As it was the late l960s, and early 1970s, feminism was something that many of us had not quite grasped as yet. But aside from that lapse, we were all sure that we were somehow better than our parents, and that no matter if any of them had prejudices or expressed thoughts that we disapproved of, we would never do so.

Bigotry, many of us were so sure, would be wiped from the face of the earth by the 21st Century.

But there is always a blind spot, isn't there? Because while I held out my hand in friendship to my black friends, and yes, came to embrace feminism, I wasn't so quick to accept those who were gay. Like my friends in the 1970s and 80s, I told “queer” jokes, and snickered about AIDS.

And so my best friend couldn't tell me he was gay. I wasn't the kind of man who could have handled the situation well; he probably knew that well enough, which is why our friendship gradually went by the wayside.

What a strange miracle that it lasted as long as it did.

And I think of how many others who might not have been able to tell me the truth about their lives - because there was a truth about myself that I wasn't willing to face. I was as much a bigot as those whose bigotry was more visible.

It is difficult, especially in these troubled times, to realize that. And while many of those who use such harshly sanctimonious language, or rail from a false sense of moral superiority may never realize their intellectual and moral blinders, it is always possible that some will undergo a spiritual metamorphosis, and like Saul on the road to Damascus, see the truth of their lives, and be shaken to the core.

******

Jackie lee Luper

There are enough hazards in the workplace, especially working outdoors, but to be hit by a car while just doing your job?

This a tragedy for everyone involved, and I don’t have much to add to the hundreds of words already penned about Fayetteville employee Jackie Lee Luper, who was struck by a car last week.

One just feels helpless when another worker is killed on the job.

*****

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One way to prevent conversation from being boring is to say the wrong thing. - Frank Sheed

rsdrake@cox.net

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