Oct. 28, 2018

She Lived Inside the Hate and Left It Behind.

Let me tell you a story about a young lady I once knew:

“She once married into a family who were racists.   They thought it was funny to call someone by a derogatory term ~ using terms she had never even heard of until then.  (How amazing that she lived for almost 16 years before ever hearing of this, of racism, and homophobia.)

These same people seemed to have no concept of the world around them being much more than just the town they lived in.  They did not understand Corporate structures, they were not interested in the Arts, or in the History of Music, Dance, Architecture, Religion.  They did not travel widely. 

They objectified her constantly and her husband did nothing to shield her from this.  Often she’d be left at home while her husband went out drinking at strip clubs.  The ‘good ol’ boys’, they drank to get drunk, not to enjoy it.   Who can really say they enjoy waking up and puking their guts out the morning after?  Yet it happened over and over again.  

They stole from the company they worked for, they drank during working hours, right in the factory.   They trafficked drugs and hid them in the house where she lived with her child.  They bragged that under their Union protection, they could kill someone and the Union would get them out of it.   This is what they believed!

They were not elitists, not nearly close to being wealthy, but they were what she’d call entitled rednecks.   Their morality was very different than hers, and she knew she had to get out.”

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Arts and Music, History and Travel: these are the things that open our eyes to the reality of the world.   That there has been, and is still, suffering beyond our imagination.   If you don’t see it, it’s easy to pretend it doesn’t exist, and that those suffering people are lying about their hardships.   

And those people, the white, entitled, and embittered people, are the ones who still today would not so quietly yell racist slurs, and raise their fists against another religion, catcall a woman, or harass a gay man.  They were (and are still) the ones that think an asylum seeker is going to come and take their job away.

I don’t know how they got that way, when in fact, their parents had grown up in poverty and hardship, on the prairies of our fair Country, having had their ancestors arrive here only one generation earlier.  And those ancestors sought asylum, the same way mine did.  

Why then, did the parents not teach their children the values of respect for others?  How did they miss the fact that their beginnings were humble, hungry, sick, and persecuted as well?   When did they rise above and become those looking down on others in misfortune, and feel that they could shame and add to the pain of a minority having to scratch their way out of desperation and fear?  

Look back world, at where the immense amount of culture that we enjoy has come from.   It is now OUR culture, even though it came from different ethnicities than our own... we borrowed and we stole and we assumed and we took by force....the building styles, the art forms, the dance, the music & instruments, the food...  and now, don’t you know, that much of our technology is developed in countries poorer than ours.   We consume it, we abuse it, we take it for granted.  We think nothing of the fact that we are leveraging their poverty to manufacture the consumables we covet.  Imagine, if we took these things from them, how they would feel.   They think nothing of us taking in one direction, but are frightened beyond reason of having brown people come and take away their things.   

How can we reverse this ongoing pattern of ‘being raised in ignorance’?  I don’t have all the answers but I do believe it is our young generation right now that can be the teachers, and who can reach the ones who don’t yet know, understand, or accept our differences.

Refute your Grandfather’s views, remind them of their own struggle, embrace your friends of other ethnicities or religions, educate yourselves about our own past and where we have gone wrong.   Call out vitriol and racism, tell your buddies not to objectify women, let your neighbour love whomever they please ~ ask yourself, how is it hurting ME?   It’s not.  It’s simply not hurting you, the way others may choose to love.  

Examine humanity and tell me why it has to be any other way than peaceful.   There is really no solid reason that we must ever hate another because of any differences between us.   These are the biggest problems that the world faces today.  Undo it.  

We know that those differences are skin deep, are merely a different way to kneel and pray, are merely a different way to touch and love another.   But how can we reach those that don’t understand this?

Blood, hearts, minds, talents, needs, pains.... we are all made with the same potential.