Wednesday, November 14, 2012

My Intolerance for Intolerance

Alternatively titled: Baby Jammies New Friend

Hey, did I tell you about the time when Nathan and I went to Ikea for some pre-birthday shopping?  Probably not.  It was a pretty average visit: I picked up a super sweet chair for my office, I got some Christmas coasters, and Nathan picked out a new baby doll so Baby Jammies would have a friend.  Here he is with his babies:

Such a good daddy! 

I didn’t write a post about it because it seemed as interesting as telling you that I ate breakfast or went to the grocery store. 

But in the light of the presidential election, I was reminded that not everyone is color blind when it comes to race.  The day after the election, there were some rumblings at school that a few of the kids had some very hateful things to say about President Obama.  Not just differences of politics views, like tax cuts and health care (which I am sure that every elementary school child has developed through research and critical thinking).  No.  These remarks made by young children were disgustingly racist. I don’t want to type what I head because I would never ever want to be associated with such hateful comments; however, the general gist was that certain races should not exist.  There were also some comments about President Obama’s alleged lack of religion thrown in there, too.  (Which is a moot point since there is this thing called separation of church and state).

I am not so naïve to think that racism doesn’t occur in this country.  Hatred is a sneaking, pervasive snake that is constantly slithering and attacking.

However, I do think I was naïve to think that people would have enough sense to not spread their ignorance to the next generation.  If an adult would have said what these children were saying, it would have been considered a hate crime.

I am sick, angry, and sad that people my age still judge based on skin color.

I am infuriated that they are passing their prejudices to their children.

I know that learning about the world, both good and bad, is a part of growing up and going to school.  I think I took the bubble of I created for Thomas and Marie for granted, especially when I see how ignorance and intolerance is infiltrating my little ecosystem of acceptance.

I have been trying to teach my kids the importance of practicing patience, kindness, and respect, and I think the election was a perfect teachable moment for this.  Having said that, I do feel like a hypocrite when I say that I have no tolerance for intolerance and ignorance.

And I think I am OK with that.  Taking a stand against intolerance, whether it is based on race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation, is important to me, and I am doing my best to teach acceptance to my kids.

Have you run into this kind of thing?  How do you handle it?


Ann Imig said...

During one of the debates I got into it with someone on fb, when I saw their bigoted comment. Sometimes you just have to stand up, right?

Erin Rawlings said...

Right! A difference of opinion is fine. Bigotry and racism is NOT fine. Ever.