I realize that this is a touchy subject.
But these past couple of weeks had me steeped in unwanted and volatile conversation about it. The Bible talks about it, Romans partook in it, and if we fast forward centuries, it is still going strong.
Why are we, as a nation, so obsessed with judging who someone else chooses to love? If it doesn’t involve children, animals or illegal behavior; if it’s consenting, well, my darlings, it’s none of my business and it’s none of yours either.
For some reason we seem obsessed and compelled to judge other people’s sexual habits. We hold up signs, leave hate messages, political parties grandstand on the subject and their judgments divide the world.
Do we not have enough issues to argue over; things that really matter to our world, to our planet? Do we really need to be divided on the subject of who goes to bed with whom, who loves whom, and what rights they deserve? I think you know my answer.
What’s that you say? God told you to hate and judge? Hmm, forgive my skeptical heart but I’m willing to bet my soul that God does not bid his children to hate or judge one another. Judgment would be God’s job, not yours. Regardless of your faith, God speaks of love, tolerance, forgiveness and loving your neighbor. It really is that simple, folks. It’s my personal opinion that God does not appreciate being dragged into the darkness of people’s prejudices, opinions and hate. But that’s just me.
I was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. Diversity is the name of this city, and acceptance is its game. It seems we are all from somewhere else. We all have different ethnicities, aspirations, religions, colors and sexual preferences. I raised my daughter to not judge anyone by what they wear, who they worship, the color of their skin or who they choose to love.
I taught her, rather, to judge someone by their character, their actions and their kindness (or lack of). I’m proud of how she conducts her life today and I’d like to think that I had something to do with her open mind and open heart.
I wish I would have had the opportunity to raise the thousands of people I see propagating hate, discrimination and violence against those people who were simply born different. I firmly believe that hate and bias is taught. We are not born with these burdens.
So, when you see me at a cocktail party, a convention, or a book/writing event, PLEASE don’t bring this subject up to me in hopes of changing my mind. You won’t. Neither do I criticize you for your thoughts and ideals. I just condemn your zeal and willingness to try to regulate those who don’t think like you.
Hate, violence and prejudice are as old as time itself. And time has proven to us that they give us nothing but more of the same. Righteousness has little to do with oppression and judgment.
In short, I’d like to tell my friends (and enemies) that if you can’t mind your own business, then mind your own mouth. I’m not interested in your small minded opinions, your dark harboring of judgment or your ideas of how to make the world a better place by oppressing others.
This is not Iran. This is America. Have your opinions, voice your choice. Then live and let live. It’s what America is all about.
mercyn - Right on!
mickey - Said perfectly! You know my family practices diversity to its very core- I thank you for your wonderful words, and for your friendship.
Joan Cooper - The answer is……..and you know I cannot just say 2 or 3 words……..the answer is FEAR.
This is the great tool government vis a vis politicians use relentlessly to control people. America was founded on ideals (bless our founders), not reality.
People seem to feel kindly toward you if they see you are in some way less virile than they are, ie, handicapped, old etc. Your article on sociality pointed that out. I can tell you as an old lady somewhat crippled with arthritis, when I smile people rush to help me. That is their good side and it comes to the surface because they are not afraid of me. I am harmless and less than they are.
America is a rich place, therefore to mobs of people like the Middle East, they are to be feared because those people are poor without much hope. From there we move to dislike and hate. A prime example is Israel. Israel is very successful – the countries around them are not. Has nothing to do with religion or right or wrong.
Thank you for letting me blog.
Rick Gualtieri - It would be so nice to live in a world where this isn’t even remotely newsworthy…where anything to do with race, sexual orientation etc is met with no more shock than the day’s weather or what color socks someone is wearing.
Vicki - Amen!!!
Mel Glenn - You write the good column full of humane expectations. Unfortunately, people do not listen to their better angels, if indeed, they have better angels. When we put someone down, it is the psychological ploy o raising ourselves up. People need to tell thee universe (in the words of Stephen Crane, “Universe, I exist.” The universe need not reply.
I doubt seriously people will change, or mind their own business, when others people’s business is a threat to them. You are wise to point out that we should not be judgmental.
You are fighting the good fight your Don Quixoteness.
Tammy - Hi Mercyn, great having you in my corner! Thanks for stopping in to say so.
Tammy - Hi Mickey, you are welcome, dear friend. I knew when I wrote this piece that some would dis-engage. So far, I’ve only had one person who UN-subscribed. The beauty of a fee country. Blessing and kisses to you and your beautiful family.
Tammy - Hi Rick, yes …. can you imagine what a wonderful world it would be? Thanks for the read and the post!
Tammy - Hi Vicki, yup, sing it out sister! Happy to have you here. Miss hearing from you but heard your voice today loud and clear! Thanks for that!
Tammy - Hi Mel, we are birds of a feather, you and I. I too doubt that people will stop the hating, the prejudice. Many a pity. For a person to place themselves in a position where they feel they must regulate, dominate, doubt, distrust and oppress, we are all in trouble and civilization suffers a blow. But you, my friend, already know that. Still, we must not remain silent, for our voices always counts. Fighting the good fight. Thanks for being there with me!
Tammy - Hi Joan, I agree totally with you (are you shocked?). Fear leads us to hate. What we don’t understand we often fear and what we fear we often look to destroy. Some people just want and need to feel better than others. As Mel pointed out, the exalting is often done while standing on someone else. Jealously comes in to play. People don’t want to share their rights, their country, their religion, their plot of land with those that don’t look, sound and act like them. If we all thought like that this country would be ‘Mine’ and ‘Yours’ instead of ‘Ours’. Therein lies the necessity to accept, strengthen each other and work for one cause. I often wonder, especially in these precarious times, how freedom can stand a chance when we as a people can’t seem to stop fighting over issues such as this. That is why I thought it was important for me to speak up. My voice is my biggest weapon against in-equality. Silence only feeds the monster. Thank me for letting you blog??? Oh, my dear, thank YOU for being here!
Jeffrey Davidson - Tammy,
Think of a song from South Pacific by Rodgers and Hammerstein (who, incidentally, had social commentary songs in all of their Broadway plays) “You’ve Got To Be Carefully Taught.”
People are not born with prejudices, they are taught.
Diversity makes the world go round. I am a firm believer that there is more to learn from people who are different that you than from those just like you.
I truly wish that there were no prejudices so that I might be free to say “I don’t like “so and so” because of their character or what they represent and not because of race, religion, national origin, sexual preferences, etc.
Perhaps that is idealistic, however, I can wish and hope can’t I?
I find that most people who are prejudice are of low self-esteem and certainly lacking in character. Many people feel that by “putting down” another, builds them up.
I try to live my life and conduct my business in a way that lets others decide my worth based on my character, integrity, personality, etc., and not because I tell you how “bad” others are to make me look good.
I have had an opportunity to meet your daughter only once and I can honestly say that my first impressions of her were exactly as you have indicated. You obviously did a good job there.
Hopefully your writings will cause others to reflect upon their inner feelings and to see how much life has to offer when happily shared with those who are different.
Although I am not religious in a structured way, I too believe that God would never tell people to judge and hate based on differences. I think that those who do hate based on subjective attitudes and consider themselves to be religious are hypocritical.
If you like, I will be happy to provide you with some names and addresses of parents who could definitely use your guidance for rearing children. Perhaps you could start with the person who unsubscribed (no loss to you)!
Keep up the sensitive and thought provoking commentary as well as your witty writings.
I certainly look forward to them.
maureen - I always say don’t tell me what goes on in your bedroom cause I have not intention of telling you what goes on in mine! Why do people think they have a right to such personal information? It used to be that you didn’t even ask how much money a person made, never mind who…kinda like those days better. Love is such a limited commodity in these times, why should anyone want to make it more difficult? Glad that you are speaking out on this subject!!
Tammy - Hi Jeffrey, You made my day. I hate to see readers leave. Hate it. But if you don’t stand up for what you believe and think, what’s the point in it all? As the saying goes “If you haven’t made any enemies, you haven’t stood for anything”. I stand for plenty. Jeff, you are SO right on when you say that we learn more from those that are different from us rather than those who are the same. Amen! And learning is the point of life. So is loving, forgiving and sharing. Thanks for your kind words towards my kidlet. She is a fine upstanding young adult that I am proud to know, happy to be with and blessed to have had the job of raising her. Isn’t lovely that you and I are so different in so many ways and so much the same in so many more?! I’m thrilled to have you on the other side of my blog and thank you for stopping by today and posting. The pleasure is always mine.
Tammy - Hi Maureen, I agree! I see peeps boycotting Chic-Fillet because the company’s owner gravely disapproves of gays. Then I see people boycotting the boycotters. Oy! What no one was mentioning is that many of the stores are individually owned franchises run by people like you and me who wanted to own their own business and build the American dream. How in the world did gay bashing/gay supporting get involved in that? I’m sure that many owners of franchises everywhere are Christians, Jews, Buddhists, etc., etc., etc. I’m with you, girl; I don’t want to tell anyone what goes on in my bedroom (probably bore them to death) and I certainly don’t wish to be judged on it. People need to understand their limitations in a civil society. Why aren’t they out there bashing child and animal abuse, crimes against the earth and genocide? All right…I’ll stop ranting. Thanks ever so much for your thought provoking post! Love knowing you are just on the other side of the blog fence!
Joan Cooper - You have stated the larger picture, but remember – the jungle is still in us. Above all we are moved to survive and if we feel threatened, we act and maybe not so nicely.
America is an exercise in assimilation. It takes time and look at the large ethnic population here. Will they assimilate or not? Will our form of Democracy survive? Or not?
Joan Cooper - Rick – then there will be no boundaries. That is the track we are on. Does it really make a better world?
Without boundaries there is no civilization. We need to dispell the ‘myths’ and deal with reality.
Tammy - Hi Joan, I think that what Rick was saying is that it would be a wonderful world if there were no prejudices to deal with. Of course, it is but a dream, but such a pleasant thought!
Joan Cooper - Right. I don’t have enough time to say everything I want to say. I do the blog in a hurry.
The word “prejudice” is not evil in itself. Let’s replace it with the word “preference”. I like to think I can have preferences. If you call that prejudice, well too bad. One persons’ prejudice may be another persons’ experience. If you are not going to judge – then why judge prejudice? The word has a bad smell? Take it out of the dictionary.
Tammy - Joan, it is NOT the word ‘prejudice’ that is so unlikeable, it is the actions of many that follow it.
Joan Cooper - But – why should anyone judge what another person’s feelings are? It may be prejudice to one, but it might be a careful analysis to another.
I don’t have your gift of gab and do not express what I am trying to say as well as you do.
Tammy - Joan, the very definition of the word ‘prejudice’ is that it is a preformed opinion based on insufficient knowledge, irrational feelings or inaccurate stereotypes. There is NO careful analysis to prejudice, it is in fact the opposite. When it becomes more than an opinion, but rather turns into an action, it becomes even more disgusting. When groups congregate at a gay fallen soldiers grave as he is being buried holding anti gay slogans and chanting that he deserved to die, that, my friend, is the epitome of prejudice. No good can come of it, and I simply don’t have the time, energy or patience to deal with the ignorance of it all. Prejudice is NOT an opinion, it is a racist way of life and thinking. That’s pretty much all I have to say on the subject. Lovely bantering with you!
Joan Cooper - Tammy – one person’ s informed opinion is another person’s assumption. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and if someone sees that as ‘prejudice’ maybe they themselves are the one who is prejudiced. The word is misused and abused.
Suerae Stein - I am SO SO SO with you on this one, girlfriend! I couldn’t have said it better and commend you for making your point so elegantly, even to those who disagree with you. I wish I had your “gift of gab”! ~ Suerae
Tammy - Hi Suerae, thanks for stopping in to share and support. Always a good thing. I didn’t know I had the gift of gab until I was told. An awesome compliment that I will snap up and claim. I have no problem whatsoever with anyone disagreeing with me, that’s the truth. Conversations are the only way we can ‘come to terms’, if that is even possible these days. Let us hope so. I am hopeful that you will be sharing your gifts on your blog soon. You have so much to offer, and offer it you do! Thanks for popping in!
Dr.Rev. Michaels - Prejudice = the Holocaust
Tammy - Dr. Rev. Michaels, agreed! Thanks for the read and the comment!