Preaching Against Prejudice

What are we teaching our children? Stop and think about this right now. What kind of little jokes have been told in the presence of your littles in the past week that, at their core, are prejudice? How many political speeches (can you say Donald Trump?) have had an underlying prejudice theme? How many television shows, websites, or comics have made some throw-off racist remark just to make people laugh? In the last week. In The Last Day.

There is nothing more abhorrent than prejudice. I have called it the Worst Human Flaw Ever, and I always will. It is the opposite of love. When you laugh at, belittle, or hate someone because they are different from you, you are killing love. Dead. Why would anyone want to do that?

I thought I was tired yesterday. Then I finally gave in and went to the store to get dish soap. Turned on NPR in the car, because that is what I do. Heard the news about the church shooting in Charleston. Wept. And wept. And wept. Racially motivated mass murder… WTF? How is it possible that this is still happening in the world? People from 26 different countries read this blog. They are not all like me. They do not all have the same color skin, the same sexual orientation, the same beliefs.  They are not even the same size.  I welcome their differences. I want to learn all about the Whole World, not just my little corner. I am honestly flummoxed that this kind of thing still happens. When we have more opportunity today to learn about and understand each other than at any other time in history, we should be learning about and understanding each other. We may end up not liking each other, but at least it will be based on something real.

When we talk to our littles about the Charleston AME Church shooting, it should not be our first conversation about racism.   It should be one in a long line of sermons against prejudice that we have given our children since birth.  Teaching our children tolerance should be one of the first and most important lessons we teach.  Let’s not get bogged down in the gun debate, that is the government’s job.  Let’s remember and teach against the true crime: hate.

“I’m here to shoot black people.”

Think about that.  Think about how horrific that sentence is.  Insert any other ethnicity.  And ask yourself why.  This monster was younger than Big.  He didn’t learn to hate ‘black people’ all by himself.  He is still a child.  He hasn’t had enough grown-up experience yet to make informed decisions.  His information still comes from his background.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not blaming his parents.  I don’t know them.  In fact, I have read nothing about them.  I am merely trying to make the point that if we are not teaching tolerance in our home, refusing to give in to the pressure to find prejudice remarks funny, introducing our children to other cultures, and making sure they judge people on an individual basis, we are perpetuating the crime.

My beautiful husband wrapped his arms around me last night as I cried and admired my big heart.  There is nothing here to admire.  I simply don’t mind letting my Littles see how the tragedy of prejudice impacts me.  It tears me to my core.  The people who died in that church were husbands, wives, sons, daughters, mothers, fathers.  According to their peers, they were all kind and giving.  They did nothing to deserve Dylan Roof’s hate.  From what I understand, he didn’t know a single one of them.  Each victim was a human being, just like me.  Just like you.  Just like your children.

Please.  Look at your children today and remind them that the world is very small now.  That they will meet white people, black people, Asian people, Latinos, Europeans, Russians, Australians, Africans.  Straight people, gay people, transgenders.  Thin people, fat people, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Pagans, Taoists, atheists, agnostics.  Tell your children that it’s okay to love all those people until unless they prove, individually, that they are unworthy of love.  Remind them that hate takes a lot of energy and that they shouldn’t waste that energy on people they’ve never met.  That even in countries where our soldiers are fighting for their lives, each of the humans involved is an individual who just wants to live.  They have the same hopes and dreams, joys and sorrows, that we have.  They have the same right to life.

I read a quote last night from pop singer Solange Knowles (whom I happen to adore): “Where can we be black?”  In my house, Solange.  In your house, dear reader, too, I hope.

It has to start with us.  We have to teach our children how wrong prejudice is.  If we do that, we have a chance in this world.  As people.  To stop hate crimes.  To stop all the anger.  To let everyone live.

Let’s not let this turn into a gun control debate.  Because that much hate could have come out in any way.  Knives. Bombs.  House fires.  Stay focused, and teach your littles about hate control.  Because that is the bottom line.  We are a family of hunters. I spend many, many hours every November and December hunting meat to put on my family’s table. I am a full-on believer in our Second Amendment rights. I think it’s one of the things that keep our country strong. But we are only as strong as our weakest link. And our weakest link is prejudice. Hating each other. For no reason. Killing each other over our differences.

Our differences are what this country was built on. Differences populated this country. Differences make this country great. But we have to embrace them. We have to teach our littles to embrace them.  I implore you to talk to your children about it.  Every day.  Because change has to come, and it has to start with us.

Despite it all, I still believe, with all my heart and soul,

Love wins,

KT

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