Tuesday, October 20, 2009

We've Come a Long Way, But Not Far Enough

I’ll be the first to admit we’ve come a long way toward eliminating racism and discrimination in this country. The segregated drinking fountains are gone. No one but Ann Coulter and her crazy cronies believe women shouldn’t be allowed to vote. More often than not, people are judged on their merits rather than their race or gender.
But recently, it feels as if we as a society have stalled. People seem to realize how ignorant statements like “separate but equal” are. But now, it seems they’re having a hard time understanding that discrimination is discrimination, no matter what the group is. And it seems some slimy, worthless scumbags are managing to float to the surface with messages of hatred and discrimination I honestly thought we as a country had buried long ago.
First, there’s this Judge Keith Bardwell who refused to marry the interracial couple in Louisiana. I would actually have a tiny bit of respect for this guy if he was actually smart enough to admit he’s racist. But sadly, he’s so ignorant he actually believes he did the couple a favor by not marrying them. But oh, Judge Bardwell isn’t racist. He marries black couples all the time and “interacts” with them on a regular basis. His concern is for, as he so eloquently put it, “the offspring.” Apparently children of mixed race often get teased, which is news to me. Granted, I haven’t been a young kid in almost 20 years, but even when I was, I can’t recall the mixed race kids at school getting teased for it… and I went to a very redneck elementary school.
Judge Bardwell has been interviewed many times and is obviously surprised people are so against him. Every time he claims not to be racist because he has “black friends,” he jams his big foot just a tiny bit farther into his big, unattractive mouth. This guy also claims that many mixed race marriages end in divorce. Last time I checked, about half of all marriages ended in divorce. Maybe he should just marry every other couple who asks him. Or, maybe he could educate himself and see that he’s as racist as they come and that in this country we “tease” mixed race people so much, we elect them as President.
Second… I begrudgingly admit that I live in North Idaho. Idaho is a state that, while beautiful in parts, isn’t exactly progressive. Even backwards-ass Idaho has a Human Rights Act which forbids discrimination based on race, sex, religion, color or handicap… but not on sexual preference. So technically, legally, people can be fired or denied housing in this state if someone finds out they’re gay. Surely the omission of homosexuals is simply because the Act was passed a long time ago, before this was such a hot button issue, right?
No. Earlier this year, a bill was created to include homosexuality in the Human Rights Act. The bill wasn’t passed. So apparently, even in 2009, the majority of Idaho Senators feel that it is acceptable to discriminate against someone based on their sexual preferences. To add insult to injury, Senator Nicole LeFavour, an openly gay lawmaker in Idaho, has to work alongside these people who don’t think she deserves the same rights they do. No one is asking these people to engage in homosexual behavior themselves or even personally believe that it is morally acceptable. The bill was simply created to ensure that these people wouldn’t be discriminated in the workplace or their home based on things they do in private. Apparently that’s unacceptable for the state of Idaho, home of Senator Larry Craig, who sleeps with men privately and in airport bathrooms but publicly denounces homosexuality.
Then there’s that recent incident at the Lakeville Country Club that found “I Swastika Obama” carved in the grass. OK, really? I certainly believe in the right to free speech in this country. And I can relate to people who are frustrated with the decisions our President has made. I don’t agree with everything he does, either, and God knows I nearly had an aneurism over a few decisions his predecessor made. But a swastika? Really? How disrespectful… not toward the President necessarily, but to an entire group of people who, ironically, are probably banned from the country club anyway. There are ways to get your point across without being a hateful fucktard. I used to get angry at racial minorities who I felt played the race card too often. Then I spent ten months watching the leader of our country face blatant racism and disrespect. I’m not saying anyone who criticizes President Obama is a racist. I know that’s not true. The majority of his critics are seemingly intelligent people who simply have concerns. But no one can deny there are plenty of people who hate him for no other reason than his race, and that’s shameful and sad.
When I was a little girl, we said the Pledge of Allegiance every morning in my first grade class. One girl in my class was a Jehovah’s Witness, so she didn’t participate. Six-year-old me was so angry, so offended, that I used to turn my back on her so I didn’t have to see her sitting there while we said the Pledge. I miss that patriotic little girl. She hasn’t been around in a long time. I still have a love for this country and the rights and opportunities I have and I know we have it pretty good here in America. But we could be so much more, and these recent atrocities have proven we still have so far to go.


Anonymous said...

While I tend to be middle of the road politically, tending toward traditional/conservative (with the exception of being pro gay marriage and pro choice), I like what you said here.

My biggest concern is that we've become so damn PC we need comedians like Rodney Carrington to lighten us up. Which isn't a bad thing.

Overall, I think there has been a lot of progress.

JessicaLee said...

I agree... despite what I said here, I hate having to be OVERLY politically correct all the time. That drives me nuts. At the same time, everyone deserves an equal shot at this "pursuit of happiness" thing regardless of what they look like. The discrimination of gays bothers me more than anything right now, I think. Who CARES, you know? ;)

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