Monday, December 07, 2009


I am angry.

At myself.

At society.

At the universe.

So I go all innocently into the bookstore to pick up a DVD to watch this Sunday afternoon. There standing listening to a CD with earphones on is a guy. Not just any guy but a guy with (I don't know what the right terminology is ...) severe facial 'differences'. Really, really severe. I work with people who have differences, I am a person with differences, and of course 'every single person is different in their own way' (yada yada yada). So for me to say DIFFERENCE, that's what I mean here.

And my first response. No, not repulsion - though I saw that on the faces of others around me. No, not revulsion - although I saw that on the faces of even more. No, I felt fear.

Freaking. Fracking. Fear.

And it pissed me off. I know the source of the fear. Growing up with fairy tale monsters all ugly and deviant. Growing into movies and television where ugly is sin and evil and loathsome. Being spoon fed a fear of a fellow human being. Being force fed a terror of another living breathing person. Not being strong enough to see these messages as propaganda, not being able enough to thwart their intention, no, me - who bangs on and on about difference and tolerance and all that other stuff that I thought I believed in - I felt an immediate and irrational fear of a guy listening to a CD.

I didn't hear the exchange between him and the clerk as he left. But it was friendly in tone. The guy with a different face smiled a different smile - which only emphasized the difference.

And then he was gone.

No carnage was left behind.

No half devoured children bloodied the floor.

No all he left behind was a roomful of people who didn't deserve his presence.



rickismom said...

a powerful post.

Shan said...

Good, you're lucky - most people go through their whole lives not acknowledging their own feet of clay.

OhWheely . . said...

How brilliant that the guy doesn't let the reactions of the people around him prevent him from venturing out. Someone did a good job of instilling in him a self-worth that over rides all that prejudice.

Yay for him.

Anonymous said...

what does LAMTBB mean?

Cynthia F. said...

Hi Dave, glad that even someone as highly evolved as you are still has room for self-knowledge and growth.

By the way, I've started reading your blog on my mobile a lot - I never miss a post but because it's not a fancy iphone or blackberry or anything I have trouble posting comments. This may be true for other fans as well, so don't worry if you have fewer comments now and then, we're definitely still reading!

Kate said...

Hmm. Yes, we are still human after all, aren't we? The fact that you acknowledged it, means everything.

Dave Hingsburger said...

Look At Me The Big Bigot

Anonymous said...

my first thought was something like welcome to the human race my friend. It is almost as if we are biologically programmed to fear difference. The hard part is challenging ourselves - that is how we bring about change.

Moose said...

I have a firm belief (ok, I have a lot of them) that we all think stupid things from time to time. We are all, at our core, bigots of some kind or another. Whether we're raised to believe something we later discover isn't so, or we've had a bad experience with someone who slipped something biased into the recesses of our mind, or whatever the cause, we all sometimes think "wrong" thoughts.

I also believe that what's important isn't having the thoughts as much as what you do with them.

So, yeah, you thought something biased. But you realized it was biased. I don't think you should spend time kicking yourself over it. Learn and move along.

In my unhumble opinion.

[And speaking of bad thoughts: my captcha word is: DROOL.]

Kristin said...

Even the best of us occasionally trip over our feet of clay. Don't beat yourself up too much over this. Just learn from it.

Bibliotekaren said...

ditto what Moose said better than I would have said it...

Arno said...

Dave, *what Moose said*
I catch myself having ingrained, bigoted reactions all to often. I, too, should know better due to my own experience, but...
Again, as Moose said, it's what we do with it.

enablescotland said...

We've all done it Dave. The difference is, I hope, that we go away and think about it that night and try to make sure we don't do it again.

Anonymous said...

I think we're all uncomfortable around things that we haven't been exposed to before - especially in this society where obsessive pursuit of an unattainable perfect is expected.

The first time I meet someone who has a difference that I haven't "experienced" before (ie/ via personally, family, friend, or person I support...)I feel nervous. For myself, it's a worry of acting ingenuine, or saying or doing something unintentionally that may hurt feelings. It's an exposure thing I suppose. Once you get your head around the, "we're all us" sentiment and realise your reactions are due to your own internal experiences and nothing to do with the individual - things click into place. I relate to what you are saying. Especially for people in the field who strive extra hard to "have the answers", and educate others... it stings more when you realize your own insecurities.

"Shameless: The Art of Disability" - you may enjoy that one Dave! David Roche (a humourist, speaker, educator, and person with a disfigurement) is one of the five people featured in an all round fantastic documentary by Bonnie Klein.