It happens sometimes – those holy cow, how did I miss that? moments.  I had one tonight.

I realized (somewhat to my dismay and somewhat a “duh, I should have seen that” thing) that I have some bigoted friends.  It varies, depending on the friend, what the bigotry is about.  Interratial marriages/childbearing, gay/lesbian/transgendered issues, and Hispanics are the top of the list, it seems.

It shocked me, though.  I was surprised simply because I don’t hold those biases and I’m pretty darned vocal about not liking them, too.  I’ve actually left drinking establishments (and everyone knows how much I like my drinking establishments) because some of the crowd was letting fly with the “n-word” during an Olympics as we were watching the track and field competition.  But before I left I told them all what a-holes they were and why I was leaving.  I’m even more irate when someone decides to announce their prejudice in front of my children.  One year, the day after MLK Day, I was in our local grocery store (which closes for national holidays and on Sundays….ya know?  Like in the “olden days”?) when a couple of older gentlemen (and I use the term loosely) were discussing having to put off their shopping because of “the {n-word}, like he deserves an entire day to himself”.  I stood there, looked them in the eye while holding my daughter close to me and said, “I can’t believe you’d talk like that in public.  Ya know, not everyone agrees with you?”  Then we went about our way.  This has been my standard since I reached adulthood.  Anyone who knows me “in real life” knows that I live and teach my children by the “judge not lest ye be judged” and “let those without sin cast the first stone” theories. 

So, yes, I was shocked to hear someone I’ve known most of my life spouting racist remarks recently.  And then, when I got to thinking about it, I realized that others in my life aren’t much better when it comes to other issues.  And I wonder…have I been complacent in allowing remarks to “get past me” without comment just to make it easier on myself?  Do these people think that I don’t care or that it doesn’t bother me?  What does my daughter think of all of it?  Does she see me sticking-up for those people or does she see me sitting back and allowing it to go on around me and wonder where my morals lie?  I don’t *think* I’ve allowed comment to pass me by…I believe I at least have always given a “that wasn’t nice” in those situations.  But I can’t remember exactly and I don’t want to ever let my children think that it’s ok to jump to conclusions about someone based just on a race (or religion or gender for that matter) or think less of someone because they’re gay/lesbian/bisexual/trangendered.  What, really, does it matter when it comes right down to it?  Does it harm YOU if they are a different race, religion, gender, or if they’re homosexual, bisexual, or transgendered?  Nope…they’re just people, same as all the rest.

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