Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Bigotry is Alive and Well

A good friend of ours whom we have known for many years (I'll call him Mike), is an intelligent, caring, and self-assured man.  A little over two years ago he came out with his preference for an alternative lifestyle, and received support from the majority of his family and friends.

Recently he went to a local hobby store to sell some of his collectible cards.  The owner had evaluated the cards and was about to make an offer when he noticed Mike's rainbow bracelet.  Suddenly the offer was off the table and the owner claimed to no longer be interested in the cards because they were "in too good condition".

Seriously?  Anyone who knows anything about collectibles knows that their value is commensurate with the condition that they're in.  How could this guy judge the condition of the cards by simply looking at a rainbow bracelet?  But the real question is, what should it matter if a potential customer is wearing anything with a rainbow pattern?

We're living in the 21st century and discrimination of this sort shouldn't exist, but unfortunately it does.  Police officers judge people based on the colour of their skin.  Civil servants refuse to serve people who don't speak the proper language.  People who wear clothing that falls outside the norm are shunned.

I am proud of the fact that I've broken the generational cycle of bigotry.  Once when my grandmother was hospitalized she refused to allow a black orderly to attend her.  My father painted all Muslims with the same brush and supported the "send them back to their country" idea.  I could have ended up the same way, until I reached high school and began to see that interracial or even same-sex relationships were no different than any other.  Who were we to tell someone who they could or could not spend time with?

We might never be able to completely eradicate discrimination but we should at least be more understanding toward our fellow humans.

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