Wednesday, February 23, 2022

The Ugly Word, Prejudice


I am not going to pretend that racism and prejudice disappeared, although there were SOME (not enough) strides being made. The "closet racists" seemed to be keeping their heads down (mostly) and I guess too many of us let down our guard THINKING things had gotten better.


But in the past few years some folks seem to think it is not only alright to be prejudiced, but it is now perfectly fine to shout it to the world. It's disgusting. People of color, females, LGBTQ, religious targets, and immigrants (even legal) have been targeted in both subtle and out-loud obnoxious words, acts and violence. There has also been a heightened suppression of freethought where real-life topics are considered taboo.


A few months ago, parents in a North Carolina school district complained and had a very favorably reviewed book pulled from the school's curriculum because they felt the content was too ugly instead of recognizing it as a story of moral failure and coming of age. Quite recently another North Carolina school district banned a book about racism and a black teenager trying to follow the teachings of Martin Luther King Jr. And these incidents are not limited to the deep south… Just this past week some Indiana parents were given the option to take their children out of Black History Month lessons. Meanwhile in NYC, Asians are being targeted for attacks.


I was recently intrigued by a notice of a church group in the Midwest that offered use of their database to search genealogy and ancestry. Since this is a topic I am very interested in, I thought I might sign up, however I took the time to read their "terms of use". Imagine my surprise when I read "You should not submit… those names gathered from unapproved extraction projects, such as Jewish Holocaust victims". I did ask rather pointedly if this group was "Holocaust deniers". I did get a replay saying "Not deniers… just you should only use names from those you have permission of" and that doesn't include deceased.

Yes, I took umbrage at that explanation, my family history includes those who were exterminated in the Nazi camps, and yes that also means many links to other relatives were lost as well. Since most genealogy searches include the past generations, many of whom are not living, maybe I am being sensitive, but I felt the comment was a direct hit on Holocaust victims, aka, Jews.


Growing up I was very aware that many of us practice different faiths even within the same family — and I was aware that we still could love and respect each other. Why is it so hard for others to accept the differences among family members, friends, neighbors, and our society as a whole. Why should the congregants of synagogues, black churches, and Islamic temples have to fear going to their house of worship? Why should the skin color(s) of a couple mean more than how they treat and respect each other? Why should women and men have pay disparities, or the wealthy be treated with any more respect than other incomes. Why should sexual preferences be a target of so-called moral outrage?


People are people. All hearts are red.


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