Racism and Bigotry in 2012

I sat through an infusion with the most racist man sitting next to me.  I did kind of chuckle at his discomfort though because he seemed so oblivious to what was about to come out of his mouth…

“You know those Blacks, they just aren’t as bright as us.  I don’t know how one of them got to be president.”
Ummm, you know one of the best doctors, world famous even, at this hospital is Black, Dr. Benjamin S. Carson.

“Well, you know there are a few exceptions.”
For the record, my daughter is Black, so please keep those opinions to yourself.  She will do just fine, and her success or failure will be because of who she is not what she is.

About 30 min. later as we are talking about advanced directives, “I just don’t want to be buried next to my brother.  I mean the Hispanics taking care of that cemmetary have no respect.  I mean they drive off the road with their 4 by 4’s.  They drive over graves, and they even sit down and eat in the graveyard.  But you know how it is.  Hispanics have no respect for anyone.”

Umm, my son is Hispanic.  “What, I thought you said your daughter is Black.” She is. “And you son is Hispanic?”  He is.

“Next thing I know you’re going to tell me you are going to vote to reelect that Muslim”  Do you know where that charge comes from?  He’s as Muslim as I am Jewish.  My step mom is Jewish, and in that religion, the mother’s faith is the kid’s faith.  Obama is Muslim in the sense his father was, and in that faith the religion is passed from the father.  Neither of us ever has to do anything to be legitimately thought members of that faith.  BTW, you seem very American values oriented, why does one’s religion matter?

I don’t know why, but I actually enjoyed tweaking him a bit.  It also pointed out to me a few things I should have known. 1) Racism and bigotry are alive and well.  2) Probably even more importantly, we are often blind about the origin of our beliefs, and I wonder how many would believe the same things with more information.  Heck, for thousands of years the sun rotated around the earth.  Up until recently we thought we understood gravity, but the theories of the atom and what gives mass has changed even our most basic theories to explain what we live with every day.

It might not have been the nicest thing to do a man getting chemo, but I have a hard time letting some things pass.  There are plenty of reasons not to vote for Obama, but neither race nor religion qualify in my eyes…With my family and my belief system, shutting up never occurred to me…till long after…and I still think confronting bigotry is the only way to handle it in order to prevent the appearance of it as acceptable.

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Saturday was fun as I took my son to a concert in a local park put on by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.  He loved the Star Wars music and the Batman music.  I liked how he tapped out syncopated rhythms for the drums in some of the peaces.  He had always been afraid of fireworks in the past because of the loud noise, but I told him the fireworks were Joker bombs and Batman was going to get him.  He then thought all the fireworks were awesome jokes, and he was raving about that part of the show to everyone the next day, especially the “ones which sound like they are laughing all the way up to the boom and colors.  What perfect Joker bombs!”  Still, I’ve had two great nights with my kids in the past two weeks between this concert and taking my daughter to see Justin Hines the week before…good times.
I am dead tired as a cold runs through our house.  So far, I haven’t caught it unless it is responsible for my lack of voice yesterday and today.  It’s just the caring for the kids and dogs has left me a bit on the threadbare side.  Then I realized our house is a household of 9.  No wonder it always feels busy.

We are making plans to put our oldest dog down next week.  The heat last week robbed him of any enthusiasm.  He dutifully goes for walks but is never excited to do so, and he isn’t eating much (including his pills covered in peanut butter).  Heck, he didn’t even get up to bark at a friend who mows our lawns.  That was a first in the 11 years he has been with us.  
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