Saturday, August 11, 2007


To open this post let me state for the record: I'm a liberal who grew up in San Francisco, in a working class, multi-racial neighborhood, so my perspective is rather open.
As a child, back in 1963, my father had a training class that took us to Virginia for 3 months (the training was in computers and that became Dad's career). I was only 4 years old, but I noticed something troubling. Every public building had 2 drinking fountains, 1 marked "white" and 1 marked "colored" (yeah, I started reading young). I asked my mother "why?". Mom's is quite a liberal herself, but I don't think she was quite ready to explain racism to a 4 year old. She tried to say "well, they do thing differently here" but I wasn't satisfied. I said "but that's wrong. They're all just people". Mom told me I was right, and that I should never forget that "we're all just people". As the civil rights movement and the riots played out during my childhood I held firmly to the belief "we're all just people".
During my teenage years, the gay rights movement began. I knew that I wasn't gay (hell, once I discovered girls I was hooked for life), but several of my friends were. I joined them in the marches, because I believe in equal rights. To me, the issue was simple: "we're all just people".
Lest you think this is just some hippie-dippy love fest, I'm not that nice. I've read some blogs saying they don't think I'm "mean" and I'm not. But I'm also no softy. While in my first year of college, I was on the football team (actually played 2 years) and there was this guy who was a bully. He was a big, black linebacker and I a skinny, white wide receiver. But when he tried to bully another player, I tore into him. I've never backed down from a fight in my life, and I've found that bullies are usually cowards at heart. My teammates thanked me. The point of the story is that all groups have their share of bad people.
A few years ago my favorite brewery, Mogollon, had a delightful lesbian bartender. One day she jokingly said "sometimes I wonder about us (the LGBT community). We're fighting to get into the military and marriage. Aren't those the 2 most screwed-up institutions around?". We laughed, but the true answer came back to "equal rights".
We can always find something to divide us. We each have our differences. It's part of the beauty of life. Celebrate our diversity (it's great for the restaurants) and remember: "we're all just people".

1 comment:

the mostly reverend said...

i grew up in a small town in iowa.
[redundant, i know, since now i live in the largest city in iowa, an oxymoron.]
just the same, born in 1953, there existed, and were enforced, local ordinances called sunset laws, which required that "coloreds" leave the city limits at sunset.
it wasn't right, i thought, and knew.
the first black family didn't move into my town until 1965, after the civil rights act struck down those laws.
ridiculous laws, rules, and policies have been my pet peeves since then, and hypocrisy, my enemy.