Just a few thoughts on this rainy Sunday afternoon …
No longer should we be shocked or even surprised by man’s inhumanity to man, for we have seen enough instances of it to know it exists. Humans have great capacity for love, but for many there are too many conditions placed on that love, and their capacity for cruelty and hatred is even greater than their capacity for love.
You may not have heard about the teacher in Pflugerville, Texas (yes, there really is a town by that name, but don’t ask me to pronounce it!) who was fired a couple of weeks ago. Why? Because of the conversation he had with his class of 6th grade children …
Teacher: “Deep down in my heart, I’m ethnocentric, which means I think my race is the superior one.”
Student: “So White is better than all?”
Teacher: “Let me finish. I think everybody thinks that. They’re just not honest about it.”
Student: “You said you are a racist, right?”
Teacher: “I did, yeah, I’m trying to be honest.”
When a student asked him to repeat what he had just said, he lashed out …
Teacher: “I said, ‘I am a racist.’ That’s what I said. Do you know what that means?”
My jaw dropped when I read that! Those kids were 12-13 years old! This man was never fit to be a teacher, to be alone with a group of children at all!!! Does this man believe that being a racist is something to be proud of? Somebody, presumably one of the students, recorded the incident and when parents found out, naturally they were outraged and reported the conversation to the school board, who promptly fired the unnamed teacher the following Monday. How many more teachers are of the same belief, and while perhaps are not as blatant about it, subtly allow their racism to bleed into their interactions with their classes?
On Wednesday, I was at my local Kroger grocery store picking up a few last-minute things for Thanksgiving dinner. As I was trying to reach something on a high shelf, a man literally pushed me aside to get by me. Surprisingly, I remained cool, calm and collected, saying only loudly enough for him to hear me, “Oh, that’s okay … just shove me aside, for I’m sure that you are so much more important than I am.” He glanced back at me and nodded. Yes, he nodded! No, I didn’t throw anything at him, but merely rolled my eyes and muttered an obscenity under my breath.
We have so many different ‘hate groups’ in this country that I’ve lost count of them all, media figures and even church pastors are preaching hate and inciting violence. Pair that with the gun culture that has suddenly run amok and … is it any wonder that we must look over our shoulders in any public venue, and cross our fingers when we send our children to school in hopes that they will return in one piece rather than in a body bag?
There is a saying that “Politics makes strange bedfellows,” but the opposite is also true … it makes enemies of people who would ordinarily be friends, drives a wedge between people whose goals, hopes and dreams are really the same, but they are blinded by the loud voices telling them that the paths to their dreams are different. Would that we humans were smart enough to realize that we are being manipulated, not for our own good, but for the wealth and power of the already wealthy and powerful. Would that we realized that we are all – regardless of skin colour, gender identity, religion, or ethnidity – in this world together and it is only when we pull together that we can make progress toward making the world a better place.