Discrimination is such an ugly thing. Like bullying, it is meant to remove one from the fold of humanity marking them with words that cut deeply with no blood, all too often pushing further into the realm of physical violence. I remember all the time. As a child I sat in a small frame church with wooden floors and hard wooden pews we were so proud to have, I heard the words of Jesus and his love for all be they royal or prostitute. “God is love; His love is all-encompassing,” the preacher would intone. Those are the teachings I grew up hearing, believing, and trying, always trying, to live by.
However, the world isn’t like that and our reality has become harsher defined so precisely that no one can live up the standards by which we are judged by people who shouldn’t be judging us in the first place. And still, I remember. I remember administrators at the Christian college I attended not liking me because I worked late on the yearbook and wasn’t tucked in bed neatly when they thought I should be. I remember my peers confronting me because I had a Southern accent and was obviously a racist. Funnily enough, it was at college that I learned about racism from all the good Christian kids from the North.
I remember striding angrily down the streets of New York City tears streaming down my face heading back to the employment advisors who assisted me in finding a job telling the manager to whom I was assigned, “How dare you set me up like that?” He blanched asking what had happened. After three years in the Marine Corps serving as a First Lieutenant, I was discriminated against by a prospective employer moron who told me, “Honey, my buyers wouldn’t talk with you because you are a female and even if we somehow got past that and I did hire you, I wouldn’t pay you the same as I pay my men.” That hurt. It went straight through all my defenses and right into my gut where it caromed endlessly tearing me into a thousand pieces.
That was one of the worst but there were countless more to come. My skin grew thicker and my head was held a little higher as I looked each person I met in the eye. I knew that I lived by those early teachings and I had done nothing wrong. In this day of the devious, backbiting life where you are proudly hailed for your stance no matter who it hurts, I see many of the things that I lived through are back louder and meaner than ever. Any deviance from the societal norm is hated and belittled. I remember and wish I could forget. If only we could find a little bit of the love that is found in the Bible rather than standing vehemently for hate, discrimination, bigotry and bullying.