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We all suffer this malady - judgement(s) base on the color of our skins, the kind of car we drive, whether or not our pearly whites are indeed white and straight, what kind of car we drive, whether or not we work and where....oh the list is endless.
I'd like to say that I have managed to overcome being affected by other people's judgements. Well, I'd like to say it, but if I did, the statement would be a BIG FAT Lie.
Not so very long ago, I migrated from the Judgement Capital of the US, Los Angeles, to a small rural village in central Vermont. For the most part, living here has remarkably decreased the type of judgement I faced in Los Angeles. I've never had a white woman grab and clutch her purse out of unreasonable fear just because a product I use is also in the same aisle. I've never been shoved on purpose by angry white men in our upscale suburb in the foothills of LA, neighbors one might call them, after the Rodney King verdicts. I was even told, by an eastern European older man, well over 70, in broken English, spittle and rage flying, to get out of his country!
No, moving to the NE has removed me from the arena of a certain kind of seething white rage lurking under the surface like a fetid demon as well as all of the supercilious BS that poses as acceptable human behavior based solely on where you live, how much you earn and what kind of car you drive.
Most people think that living in LA, which roughly translates into its inhabitants being liberal progressive, which means race blind. Well, most of us know that translations (one foreign language to another with accuracy) are often very, very wrong! And so too is this assumption about California and in turn Los Angeles being a mecca for people of color and women that are categorized as Plus Size because their dress size is larger than a size 4. But of course, these types of judgements are passed millions of times everyday almost everywhere because of modern technology. It would be a blessing for everyone, worldwide, to celebrate and practice a non-judgement day.
But then of course we would have to find a way to stop being, what some scientists claim is inherently human, judgmental. It would have to start with something simple - stop media talking heads from their toxic daily diatribes against the other.
Think about it! Bill O'Reilly, Sarah Palin, Anne Coulter, Rush Lumbaugh, Laura Ingram, Richard Cohen all attest that racism no longer exists in the United States and discredits any black person that says that it does. How, and more importantly, why is it possible for a man, O'Reilly to be specific, be accepted as a credible resource for determining whether racism continues to afflict a very specific part of American society? Considering that the man was stunned to learn that blacks, in a Harlem restaurant, could eat with utensils  and conduct themselves like gracious and cultured human beings, in 2013 is exactly the type of judgment we need less of in our burgeoning race blind culture. What we also need less of is white media personalities validating what they perceive as what it means to live, daily, as a person of color in this country.
I've been married to the same man for almost forty-eight years. When we married waaaay back in 1966, our marriage was illegal. I/we don't expect a medal for our long term relationship but it would be very, very nice if people could stop staring at us two old, grey haired, obviously still in love bi-racial couple, as if we just arrived from some far and distant planet.  
The dreams that I had for our kids, so eloquently spoken by a man, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., are still a work in progress. Our youngest is still greeted by educated, older and young white male physicians at medical conferences with phrases such as "how did you get here?", or worse, her presence stoically ignored.
So, to sum it up simply, we all need to leave our judgment of others aside. Perhaps we can all begin by starting non-judgment for just an hour and then work our way up to a day? My environment affords me a diversity of beauty every single day. And I am resolute in the knowledge that we are all beautiful and that well all deserve something called respect. I can accept that many, many people do not and will never like me, but is it too much to ask that the dislike be because of something more than the color of my skin or who I choose to marry?

Originally posted to on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 12:00 PM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  "Strange" vs. "Stranger" (4+ / 0-)

    Peter Dinklage (the actor who plays Tyrion on "Game of Thrones" and who is simply one of the finer actors of his generation regardless of body type -- see "The Station Agent") made a point about being stared at by children in public. He said that parents scolding children for looking at him was wrong. They're children, and they're reacting to someone unlike anyone they've seen before, and scolding them made people like him seem dangerous and not normal to the children.

    I would hope that a bi-racial couple is not news in Vermont, but I would also hope that you're getting stares for being new, not for being outlandish. I had an Indian co-worker (from the sub-continent) who went to work in Bar Harbor, Maine. He didn't get any hostility, but simply being the first dark skinned person the wealthy folks had seen as a peer wore him down and took more patience than he had.

    It may be human to generalize, but it's human stupidity to prefer generalizations to reality, to hold onto generalizations when they lead to error and harm, and to generalize on accidental qualities like skin color.

    Everyone's innocent of some crime.

    by The Geogre on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 01:42:44 PM PST

    •  Something Different (0+ / 0-)

      Surprisingly, my husband and I received a lot more "stares" in Southern California than here in the NE. Because we live in a resort community, most of the attention we receive is from tourists, and not foreign tourists.
      I understand how children react to new and different. In a small Italian village in northern Italy in the early 1970's I had children to run up and rub my skin to see if the color rubbed off. They and the experience was delightful.
      My point, I have tarried with the idea of appearing in public in white face just to see and experience the response.

  •  I'm guilty of this. (3+ / 0-)

    (Disclaimer:  I have an autism spectrum disorder, and this is how my brain works.  This is an important social topic and I suck at the social side of being human because of my cross-wired brain.  If what I'm saying turns out to be offensive, I don't recognize that because of my disability, and I'm very sorry for being offensive.  Let me know so I can try to fix it.)

    I have very different initial, unconscious reactions to people not "like me".

    Now, my next thought is always "It's a person/people, stop that".  But I think the reason why racism sticks around as strongly as it does is because for some people, that thought doesn't come until they get to personally know someone, and it only applies to that person.  After all, who hasn't heard the defense from someone who just said something racist of "Well, I have black/Mexican/(insert pigmentation/cultural difference here) friends".

    I'm not sure I will ever be able to break myself of that initial reaction.  But to make myself a better person, I make sure that the following thought I mentioned above happens as quickly as possible.

    Because skin, size, culture, language, and other differences may be novel, odd, or an "other" to you, and I don't think it's too controversial to say that that's likely a natural defense mechanism from thousands of years ago that's no longer needed in a massively interconnected society.  The difference between that and racism is not recognizing that and having that second thought of "Stop that, it's just a person."

    Just because it's different, doesn't mean you should treat it any differently until you've been educated about a more polite manner that the subject of our treatment may prefer.

    Hope that made sense.  And if it it didn't or you think I'm wrong, let me know.  Racism or being racism is not one of those things I particularly want to be wrong on.

    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. -- Clarke's Third Law

    by The Technomancer on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 02:36:13 PM PST

    •  Autisim and Racism (0+ / 0-)

      I've had the pleasure of teaching a young Chinese male who was a high-functioning autistic, gifted in mathematics and computer technology. My student attempted many times to "tell" me jokes that had a racial component. I never misread his intent or the difficulties he experienced whenever he was outside his home.
      We all relate to one another in various unseen and unspoken dialogues and being "different" is transmitted loud and clear just like the deep well of unease and distaste for those who are considered unacceptable.
      There is a marked difference of impact to those living on the other side of slings and arrows; something I am sure that you are far too familiar?  

  •  I've said on here before that small rural towns (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ybruti, oceanview

    have lots to recommend them. They too can be small and petty but with the knowledge that you will be seeing everyone most days for the rest of the time you are there which can be a lifetime.

    “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

    by ban nock on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 06:32:17 PM PST

    •  Small towns (0+ / 0-)

      From what I understand, and trust me, my knowledge is limited, in most rural small villages in the NE, it takes the residents about a year to begin accepting a newcomer?

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