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"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."

...............................................................Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Banality of Discrimination


Been a couple days now, time for the dust to settle a bit. The Obama speech on race, while addressing his pastor controversy [and we're lookin' forward to hearing Hillary and McCain address theirs...well, no, not really....], rose above it to open a door of opportunity to all of US. And the speech has rippled, resonated, roared through the discourse of politics and punditry.

Because Obama also challenged US. Each of US. To step up to the plate. Not to be distracted by sturm und drang in the media. To examine our own hearts. To walk a bit in the other guy's shoes. To imagine what it must be. To be honest with ourselves. To think.

The Sunshine family came late to the concept of discrimination. When you're a white bread, white family in Middle America, even when a black brother marries into the family, you don't understand, because you open welcoming arms and it's family. When your friendship circles include people of all races, ethnicities, religions or not, you don't understand.

Until you do. Discrimination is far broader than the sexism, racism spearpoint of this human—or subhuman—conversation. It extends to those with disabilities, gays, ageism, livin' on the wrong side of the glass wall... anyone who some "one" can point to and call "other."

One of the many beauties of the Obama speech was his giving voice to the frustrations of both white and black discrimination perspectives.

And most of the time we don't even see it in ourselves. Does the neighbor who doesn't shovel their sidewalk know that he's made it impossible for his disabled neighbor to wheel down the block? Or think of it, even?

Does the quilting group that's decided to go modern and computer and freeform so we won't talk about hand-piecing anymore know that it's demeaning some of its elder members?

Does the friendship circle leave out one from conversation from time to time because her politics are different than most of theirs? Unconscious discrimination.

Looking in the mirror seems too often for primping and preening these days. Maybe all of us should, before we go out for our Easter dinners and gatherings, take a look in the mirror at the face of US.

The Usual Suspects.

Some are easy to name. The orchestrated demeaners and deriders quick with the dialing fingers to local talk radio after the Obama speech. Kitchen sink crowd or Rethuglican Rovers? The highly paid to be race-baiting pundits on national cable and radio with their questions. Hannity, Limbaugh, Elder, Faux News... masters of putting out their crapola in the form of questions they can then deny ownership of. All in the name of drowning out the message.

We have a thinking man. Who's offered us an opportunity to think beyond our own small self interests. Discrimination is...whether by religion or race, politics or place, gender or gay, health or.... bet you can fill in something I hadn't even thought of.

And that's all it takes. A little thinking instead of just swallowing the spew of derision and demeaning, corruption and misleading.

Whaddya think? Big deal? Or banality as usual...

1 comment:

Prairie Sunshine said...

A commenter over at FDL posted this link to an Open Letter to Hillary Clinton from the author of Eat, Pray, Love.

Timely reading.