You've Got to be Carefully Taught

Posted Thursday, July 30, 2009, at 7:47 AM
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    Sometimes, our parents don't teach prejudice, our society does.

    I grew up in Owen, Greene, and Clay counties in the 60's. There were few people who were different.

    Then, I joined the Marines and went out into the world among the peoples who were different. I came to realize that although people are different in many ways, we are all the same in many basic ways.

    Then, in 1978, I was stationed at Camp LeJeune, NC. My first day in NC, I saw an African-American driving down the road on a John Deere. I do not know where the thought came from as I know American history and had traveled a good bit of the world by that time in the company of African-Americans. Some of my best friends at the time were African-American. Some were married to different races and I saw nothing wrong with that. But when I saw that man driving down the road on that tractor, the thought that popped into my head was "Why would anyone steal a tractor?" It lasted but an instant, but it has always bothered me that I could jump to such a conclusion based on nothing but a passing glance about someone I knew nothing about.

    -- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Thu, Jul 30, 2009, at 10:37 AM
  • It amazes me the amount of prejudice in small communities. It's not just about race, either. For instance, if you are not a member of one of the "core families", you are an outsider, and therefore under suspicion. Admittedly, I have shown some prejudice, especially when I was younger, but I try my best to see the good in everyone. There are good and bad people everywhere, no matter about race, religion, etc. I, Leo, can understand your initial reaction to the man on the tractor. For the longest time, if I would see an African-American in a nice car, I would ask myself,"Wonder where he stole that from?" It's profiling, it's stereotyping, and it's wrong. It's time we take time to learn about the people underneath the skin color, and then draw our conclusions about that person. In some cases you might find that person to be someone that you could easily be comfortable around, to the point of developing a friendship with. Of course the opposite could be true as well, but you don't know until you give it a chance. "What Would Jesus Do?" applies here.

    Mr Lewis, you are right, you have to be carefully taught-to love one another, and to find the best in everyone.

    -- Posted by Wiseguy on Sat, Aug 1, 2009, at 8:11 PM
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