No Excuse for Discrimination
I read an article about abuse that addresses the idea that children who are abused grow up to be abusers, and I agree with the author that while this is common, it is also a cop-out. Kids know they've been treated badly and that it's wrong; therefore they certainly know better than to do such things to their own children. The cycle of abuse should stop, then, if they were to act rationally. Unfortunately, a lot of people can't deal effectively with the pain and pass it along, which is why the cycle tends to repeat.
It made me think about discrimination--racism, sexism, and other kinds of bigotry--and how it is so shocking to find that some of the communities that have suffered badly from discrimination don't hesitate to hand it out, themselves. For example, I am white and my husband is Asian (specifically, he is from Japan). I find this fairly unremarkable beyond the fact that I enjoyed visiting Japan and learning about his home culture, but some people seemed to have issues with our mixed marriage. The weird thing is that a lot of those people were black. One of my black friends, Don, specifically said the races "shouldn't mix." That floored me.
Why would he think that? People are people, and skin color is, quite literally, on the surface. That is, of course, an argument against discrimination in general, but what really shocked me is that someone who is considered a "minority" would have the same attitude as the backward folks who actually made mixed-race marriages ILLEGAL in our country until not long ago. I guess I can't say for sure that Don faced discrimination in his life just because he is black, but it's pretty likely. It's also guaranteed that he knows someone or is even related to someone who has. So, knowing how bad it feels, why would he do the same thing? Now, he never said anything beyond that, and he continued to be friends with me--he wasn't at all hateful. But some people are.
I have some gay friends who are also Latino and some who are black, and they say they feel comfortable with their white friends, but they would be terrified to come out to their families, because being gay is considered quite reprehensible in the black and Latino communities. Once again, people who have had their share of having been discriminated against, whom you would think would be sympathetic about how bad that feels, are handing it out, as well. It's quite sad, and we need to learn from experience not to pass along hurt.
Image Credit » http://pixabay.com/en/discrimination-racism-60512/