Monday, October 22, 2007

a tree falls in the woods

Verbalizing or acting upon with prejudice and bigotry is to incite and perpetuate bigotry and prejudice.
It doesn't matter if that's what is intended or not.
If it weren't so very important to me to point out this simple truth, I would just let this post go unsaid.

Some of us try hard to be accepting and nonjudgmental of people. Some of us are not perfect at it, and have a really, really hard time embracing our immediate society when members of that society say hurtful, intolerant, closed minded, self-righteous things about others' ways and the things they believe to be true.
And guess what? Some of us are even offended when what is said is not of our own actions and choices, but those of our fellow man.

Some of us wonder if we are just as bad for holding those that profess such atrocious (to us) things in disdain and contempt.

I do not like intolerance.
I especially despise intolerance in myself - and holding others in contempt is practicing intolerance.

Please, please.
Think about hurtful words before uttering broadly unloving personal beliefs.
Save it for people who expect such things from you.
Save it for discussions with intimates.
For your church.
For your next door neighbor.
For your spouse.

Don't assume that the world at large is with you.

Some of us want nothing to do with that particular poison.
If we (I) were stronger we could overlook harmful actions and easily dismiss them.
But sometimes we're not.
Sometimes they leave us feeling angry, hurt, outraged, and sad.
It's unkind and inconsiderate to incite anger in the hearts of others who are trying to live in love.
Thank you.

This post was written in response to a local HS board email. Right after writing the last post (about bigotry, oddly enough), Julie dashed off a note to me saying that things on my state HS board were getting heated. Someone sent in an email saying "Why didn't they tell us before (our children got hooked on the books) that a Harry Potter character was going to be gay?"
Instead of adding to the bad feelings (though I think the list owner has put an end to all trailing posts) I decided to voice my thoughts and feelings here.

Addendum: But I reserve the right to change my mind about that!


Mama Podkayne said...

Oh gosh.

1) Who cares if he's gay.
2) Where in the books does it ever indicate that? I just re-readbk 7 last night just to check. Yup. Nada. I think she's just messing with people.

Recently on a local mom board the blog author sang the praises of a really terrible discipline technique. I had the nerve to respond. It got ugly. I felt bad for days, and yet, maybe someone walked away with the idea that her method of choice that involved locking an infant in a room until she vomits and cried herself to sleep may not actually be a good thing. I was stressed out for days. Why? My words mean so much to me and when I share them and they get stomped on it feels personal.

Gah. Now I'm rambling.

Stephanie said...

I thank you sincerely for your response.
I was just getting into a place where I was wondering if my "keep it to yourself" (or at least away from me) request was akin to blaming others, and the same as another saying "Well, if They would just keep themselves Over There (say, the other side of the tracks or a seperate island), where I cannot see them and don't have to be reminded of their existence I wouldn't have to practice intolerance."
I would like to seperate the two, for my own selfish reasons, of course.

BUT...your comment reminded me of the importance of shining a light upon one's actions, possibly leading one into re-evaluating their normal practices and behaviors, which at second glance might be considered unkind, or, in the case of the tiny babe, neglectful, cruel, and inhumane.
Is "in love and kindness" the justifier, then?

Stephanie said...

Getting to the bottom of this question... "am I any different?"
is pretty quick when I imagine what great leaders of humanity would say.
Since so many folks around here are followers (supposedly) of Jesus, let's take him.

How would he go about handling such a thing?
Would he keep quiet and tolerate silently unkind things that were done to his fellow brothers?
I think not.
While he'd not condemn them, I think he wouldn't hesitate to suggest "let's talk about what you're saying, pick it apart, and see if you really feel that way."
So there's my answer.
Shine on.

whimsigal said...

I knew when I read an article about JK Rowling "outing" Dumbledore that there was going to be some sort of reaction to it. With so many people being upset about the wizard factor alone, adding gay to the mix was like aiming a flamethrower at a semi transporting gasoline. Explosive! I don't know why people get so upset about these issues. Children don't read things with the same external influences that we bring when reading something. I know that has nothing to do with the prejudice issue, sorry.

I just want to say that I agree wholeheartedly that ugly thoughts are better left unsaid. Can you believe how long it took me to get to that? Your post made me check myself, was I the one that set you off on a rampage?! :) I almost feel unqualified to comment because I can be incredibly judgemental but I'm working on it.

This is a great post, very thought-provoking. It took me 30 minutes to gather my thoughts enough to make a comment!

Evie aka edie

Stephanie said...

Dear Evie-
Have we met? You remind me of someone I once knew as Edie.... she doesn't come 'round much anymore, think I offended her somehow...

I think children's lack of prejudice is exactly the point. Or one of them, anyway.
As MP said, there is no inherent difference in humanity, only our own disharmonious thoughts and judgments attached to it.

I know we get attached to certain thoughts and ideas, especially when our society demands that we take a stand on certain issues - borders come to mind.
It can be hard to find a peaceful reconciliation between our wanting to be fair and kind, and wanting to preserve what we have, and feeling threatened that another wants to take it away. At least, I have a hard time with these things sometimes.

When I first read the Utah HS post, before I even had read what the hubbub was about (JK's words)... I thought "she's using the books as a platform".
After reading the article, I thought "Yup."
Saying -after the last book was published, and obviously complete and over- that so-and-so is gay, and this one went on to live in Lebanon, and that one went on to teach pigs to fly is just making stuff up.
Some ridiculous person on the UT list said "Well, Cinderella and Bewitched aren't REAL magic like Harry Potter!"
I just gotta shake my head at that one! Honestly.

As to inflaming others - I am grateful for it.
It leads to great discussions, and the exploration of ideas, and the exposure or dimming of prejudices!
I don't blame her one bit for tossing that one out there, and I don't even care if she simply did it for effect, or to promote her wicked tales.

Last note - unqualified to post on not being judgmental because it could be attached to yourself is why I write these things.
I feel so mean sometimes toward my Ultra Conservative society, and I like to find my footing every once in a while, and remind myself to be kind to my fellow man.
No such thing as "shouldn't say anything" around here.
Or "not qualified".
Any exploration or thought is worth mentioning.


whimsigal said...

You know me...I get hung up on being a hypocrite. Damn nasty thing that is.

One more thing, the ultra conservative as well as the ultra liberal do their best to trip good people up and get them riled enough to say something nasty back. Sh*tstirrers. Oops...Is this what you're talking about? LOL

umm you don't have to publish this unless you feel like putting me in the public stockade.


KMDuff said...

I think it is a beautifully written post. That whole "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me" phrase is completely wrong. Words are much more powerful. I think you responded in a nice way.

Stephanie said...

My original words were (obviously) "Verbalizing or acting upon prejudice and bigotry is to incite..."
What I meant by "upon" was "upon feelings of", not "upon" as in "reacting to those expressed by another".
Just wanted to make that clear, in case there was any doubt.
Tis why I changed it to With.

whimsigal said...

Aaah! You outed me!!! LOL