As a white woman, who grew up in a Canadian middle-class family in a town where diversity was almost non-existent, the argument could be made that I don’t understand what it is like to walk down the street and feel out-of-place. But it doesn’t mean that I don’t care about those who suffer from any form prejudice; with a 5′ 1″ frame I don’t always know how to handle the situation but it doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like to handle it with a linebacker’s attitude.
I didn’t have the impression that I grew-up within a racist or even a homophobic home. It was baffling to me as six-year-old, that there were words for people other than their given names. Later in high-school, when I went to a boyfriend’s house for dinner, I was shocked to hear a racial slur thrown into ordinary conversation. And now, to be situated across the street from a neighbor that has no problem commenting on ethnicity (or religion) the comments feel like being hit with a bucket of cold water.
I feel ill-equipped to handle contempt of any kind. My solution is to state that I don’t agree, to then proceed to give the cold shoulder by disengage from social interaction and make sure my children are taught better. But it doesn’t seem like enough. If everything I do is to be elevated and looked upon from a Spiritual Perspective, then change begins with me. It has to be what I model and what I stand for in all areas of my life and it has to be what I teach my children. I may not be able to teach the world to play nice, but I can teach my children that it is a big wide universe, large enough for many ways of being.
If I can teach them that contempt prior to investigation comes from fear, and that fear is the only enemy we ever have, maybe I will have done something.
This morning I am taught nothing but compassion for my neighbor. I am full of gratitude that I have not been given their lesson, and that I had the upbringing that I did. We are love, we are light, we are one because there is no other, fear is our only divider and I will not live that way.