Tag Archives: bigotry

What makes me cry

War for the sake of ego or profit makes me cry and also infuriate me.  The sight of draped coffins coming home to devastated families tears me up.  The memory of planes crashing into the World Trade Center makes me want to turn away but one can’t turn away from a memory.  One can’t ignore the sight of those throwing themselves from windows ninety stories up. 

Mistreatment of animals makes me cry.   The commercial showing the innocent cratures who’ve been mistreatment makes me furious at those who hurt them but makes me sob at how those cats and dog still only want love and care. 

The book The Yearling makes me cry.  The movie Brian’s Song–the first one with James Caan–always makes me dissolve in tears.

Racism and bigotry disguised as Christianity or patriotism makes me furious at the perpetrators and makes me weep for the mistreated.  

Rodney King’s words–“Can’t we all get along?”–makes me cry because I don’t know why we, all beloved children of God, can’t.   Thinking of the insults black men in the South had to put up with makes me cry which is why To Kill a Mocking Bird makes me sad–and angry and makes me do something!. 

Hearing that the tiny bodies of the Newtown children were so badly ripped up by the bullets used by the gunman that the grieving parents weren’t allowed to see them to ID them but had to identify their babies through photographs.  Then thinking about those parents  going home  do something with the Hannukah and Christmas presents their children would never open.

So many other things:  Nelson Mandella’s years in prison, the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King.

And when events make me cry, then angry, I have to do something.  These emotions should kick me into action to change things.

What do you think?

My parents didn’t teach me to hate. Thank you!

My parents didn’t teach me to hate

I look back over the years and realize what an amazing statement this is:  my parents didn’t teach me to hate.   Never once did I hear a word against any group or people, religion or race.   I didn’t grow up with the burden of prejudice.  I didn’t have to unlearn the lessons of racism.

You may not think this statement makes my folk sound special.  I hope your parents did the same.

What makes this fact  remarkable is that my father was born in 1904 and my mother, in 1907, hardly years of openness and acceptance of others.   I was born in the 1940’s and grew up in a world filled with bigotry and hatred, in a world of separate restrooms and in a city where the public swimming pool was closed because white people didn’t want to swim with black people.   Because of the way my parents raised me, I didn’t understand why anyone would object to this.    Thanks, Mom and Dad.  

I thought of this again about a week ago when I watched a PBS program about Oscar Hammerstein.  He was a man born in 1895, a man ahead of his time, a writer who asked questions and forced discussion on many issues, especially of race and prejudice, in the lyrics of his marvelous musicals.

In 1949, Hammerstein wrote South Pacific.   I was born in Kansas City, MO, a little off Broadway, but wonderful touring companies came through.  I saw South Pacific in the theater when I was eight.   After the show was over, I asked my mother about the song You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught.   She told me that some parents teach their children to hate other people, people who are different.  I asked her why.  She couldn’t explain.  Neither can I.

In Showboat written in 1927, Hammerstein  dealt with misogyny.  Julie, who had “black blood”,  was married to a white man, a union which was against the law.  I saw this movie when I was nine and couldn’t understand why two adults who love each other couldn’t marry.  I still don’t.

My parents raised me in church and taught me that the Gospel means acceptance and love for all,  no exceptions.  

Thanks, Mom and Dad.