Monday, September 21, 2009

Advice To Bigots







These are just a list of adjectives. They are words that describe me. What people don't seem to understand is that they are not words that define me. Knowing one of these things, two of these things, all of these things about me does not give you even the slightest glimpse into my soul.

I simply do not understand prejudice based on adjectives. It seems incredibly silly and incredibly shallow. Not that I expect bigots to be deep people, but really if you are going to the bother of carrying hatred around, wouldn't you wanna have at least thought about it.

Yesterday when I was out I was called a 'God damned cripple' by someone who had to step around my wheelchair when getting out of an elevator. I'll admit to the Cripple, I'd put up an argument about the 'God damned'.

So was that little outburst just because he had to step around my chair? Or was it because of how I exisited in the world. It certainly wasn't because of who I am, he couldn't know that. He couldn't know that I love the colour green, that I prefer vanilla to chocolate, that I always laugh when I see puppies. He couldn't know how I vote. He couldn't know who I pray to. He couldn't know that I never really lost my belief in Santa.

I never thought I'd be writing a blog encouraging bigots - but I am. Come on, bigots, put some work into it. Hatred defines you as much as it targets someone else. It tells us a lot about you. THINK about it.

I mean, I have prejudices. But for me it's characteristics that I go for, really, I'm refined in my loathing of others. I'm prejudiced against those who want to make me believe something I don't. I'm prejudiced against those who lie to manipulate. I'm prejudiced against those who willfully and joyfully hurt others. I don't care what kind of adjective-al person they are. Who cares about colour, or ability, or faith - please.

So to the guy who called me 'cripple' and judged me based on a word that describes not defines - have a thought that's deeper than a moments notice.


Anonymous said...

I'm sorry that you have to deal with stupid people. However, you sound like a strong person who can dish some crap back out at the dumb people. I wish you luck on your journey.


Circus Princess said...

HA! Thank you for a wonderful read. I think part of the problem is that prejudice people put so much negative value to their adjectives and instead of finding out about the man/woman between the adjectives they choose to make one up based on these "word boxes".

Their loss.

Stephen said...

I always find these dicusssions difficult as it is so hard to get the balance between rightly condemning bigotry and unacceptable behaviour and trying to empathise with the person to understand their behaviour. When it comes to working with people empathy is vital and it is necessary though very difficult to try and extend this to those that offend us, without compromising our honsty and criticism of their position.

I am a buddhist. Buddhism suggests that human beings suffer due to the mind failing to see clearly the truly important things in life and to see reality clearly. In buddhist thought this mental blindness is the root cause of suffering in the world. From this perspective, people who are particularly bigoted (as Dave says, we all are to some degree)would be people who have particular difficulty seeing through the fog to what really matters.

We all know at a common sense level that values of tolerance and warm relationships with each other are at the root of human happiness, but Buddhism argues that the fundamental structure of the human mind makes it very difficult for us to act on this innate knowledge, hence why so many of us get caught up in things ike material possessions and petty emotional states like bigotry and jealousy. This is why Buddhists believe meditation can help to see life clearly, and i would suggest that other traditions of prayer etc have a similar effect.

I don't know if that's of interest, it's just my random first thoughts on perhaps trying to understand from a different perspective why people behave so horribly. Oh, and many buddhists would probably be horrifed at my simplistic attempts to describe buddhist ideas, so please don't take them as gospel!

Anonymous said...

Ahhh, the insensitives! Being overweight, I get a lot of stupid comments, and when that happens...I try to breathe deep and reach for compassion. One of my mantras is "Be kind, for every one you meet is fighting a hard battle". It's hard sometimes to do that, and I just want to smack them!

Good luck on your journey!

I hope you have a great day!@


Jaymee said...

people can just be so nearsighted. it really is their loss when they are unwilling to take the time to get to know the person beyond the wrapping. living in a world where you are unwilling to have encounters with those who appear different, you lose out on living a much richer life.


Brad said...

Great read as always Dave!

I don't get the comments or stares anymore, well at least not as much. But, as a child I got a lot, my mother also got it from neighbours telling her 'disabled children should not be in school because they take up too much of the teachers time', or at the swimming pool telling her that I should not be allowed to swim with their children.

Did you get that email I sent regarding the question I had asked you previously? I sent you my mothers reply to the same question. Just curious. :)

Rose's Daughter said...

I always feel sorry for insensitive, closed minded people. They miss out on a lot in the world because of it.


Nina said...

People need a boot up the ass if that's the best they can do! I'm sure his mama would have been proud to hear him demeaning someone who is disabled. I might have just stuck out a foot or a cane and seen who the disabled was then, huh? But I'm obviously not as nice as you!

Belinda said...

It shocks and hurts every time I hear the cruelty people dish out. Some people seem to carry an inner toxic waste dump. Yuck.

Lynn said...

I really enjoyed your post! I couldn't agree with what you said more. Some people don't think how their words will affect others and they think they know a person just because they see one thing about them, but its just not true! This is my first visit to your blog, but I'll definitely be back!


Cathy said...

Arh so he felt a little disabled by his “environment” , having to step around a person in a wheelchair.
thanks for yoru posts agree with all I'm reading here.

Anonymous said...

Ignorance. Fear.
There is an enormous mountain of ignorance and fear inside many people. Which leaves very little space for thoughts, feelings and new experiences.
Reactions brought about by fear combined with ignorance are seldom attractive. They often take the form of unflattering remarks hurled at someone who frightens the fearful person.
I suppose that I should feel powerful, knowing that my presence, just sitting in my wheelchair, causes such a strong reaction from some stranger. I don't feel strong when it happens, however, I just wish the person would stop resisting reality and notice that I am an ordinary person, who is sitting down.
Best wishes from The Wheeliecrone

Kristin said...

Absolutely brilliant Dave! I like the turn of phrase "I'm refined in my loathing of others."

That poor deluded bigot doesn't know the beauty he is missing out on.