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by Ron Cruger
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Prejudice: Still with us!
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I’d like to think that prejudice, at least in the United States, was a despicable remnant
from our past. I’d like to believe that today prejudice lives only on the pages of our history books. I’d like to think that Americans
think that Blacks and Jews, Gays and Muslims, Disabled and Aged were all equals with the rest of our citizenry.
I’d like to believe these things, but I don’t.
A week ago about four hundred gay rights
activists, students and church officials yelled and screamed to drown out a small Kansas group that demonstrated at a San Diego high
school. The Kansas group was in San Diego to condemn Jews, homosexuals and President Barack Obama.
Don’t tell me that prejudice is gone from the American scene.
I don’t think it’s any less
than it was twenty, thirty, fifty or a hundred years ago.
A half dozen members of a Kansas
church recently traveled across San Diego County going to Jewish organizations, churches and schools as part of a national tour. After
picketing the San Diego high school they went on to picket more than a dozen San Diego locations over the next few days.
Members of the group yelled, “Obama is the anti-Christ. He uses the bully pulpit to push fags and Jews.”
They sang songs which attacked Jews and warning about the end of the world.
On one occasion
hundreds of counter protesters gathered to oppose the Kansas church group. Several of the counter protesters chanted, “Racists, sexists,
anti-gays, hateful bigots, go away.”
A minister from a church in San Diego who was supporting
the counter protesters said, “We want to send a message of love, not hate.”
“n” word isn’t used as much today (in public) as it was years ago, but my feeling is that the same percentage of people carry a prejudice
about blacks today as they did back then. My bet is it’s just as difficult for a black person to get a good job today as it was years
The amount of people who believe that gays choose their life style is astounding.
Same with people who still believe that Jews are the cause of all the world’s troubles. The sight of Muslims in their native attire
causes Americans to immediately think of suicide bombers and terrorists. The disabled and the aged cause knee-jerk thoughts of their
abilities or lack of them.
It’s hard to believe that the KKK still exists. This group of
bigots can still be found burning fiery crosses on the lawns of decent black citizens.
I’ve listened to too many men lower their voices and offer hushed opinions of blacks, gays and Jews. They often inaugurate their bigoted
statements with, “Ya’know, I don’t really care, I’m not prejudiced, but those people just aren’t as smart as us. Know what I mean.”
There’s the man who doesn’t know or want to know that he spouts anti-semitic beliefs. The
quiet undertone, “You know how ‘they’ are. After all, they own the banks and everything. Now, I don’t really care, but they do run
the country. Some of my best friends are Jews.”
The hostility against gays grows with each
day, as more gays state their beliefs and “come out of the closet.”
More of the hushed
revelations. “I don’t care how people live, you know. That’s their business, but between you and me, I think it’s wrong. I think a
lot of those gays could become like us if they tried.”
As much as the bigotry it’s the
denial that pervades the problem and perhaps it’s the denial that permits the intolerance to continue, generation after generation.
These people don’t think that they are bigots, small-minded or prejudiced. They just believe
that “those people” aren’t as good as them. “They’re different.” It’s their skin or their clothing or something
their ancestors did a millennia ago.
A few score years ago this nation fought, brother
against brother in a valiant attempt to bring equality to the union. Slavery was abolished, but the slanted thoughts
in many men’s hearts remain.
Perhaps those narrow-minded, prejudiced thoughts will remain
with us forever, but we can hope and pray that there could be a change and that in each new generation we could find a lessening in
the hatred and the denial.
Perhaps then a church group from Kansas will stay home and have
a cookie sale instead of gathering on the streets of San Diego spewing their poisons.