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Showing posts from July, 2023

Judging others

 We humans seem to delight in judging one another, usually unfavorably, usually compared to some unrealistic ideal or standard.  At the same time, when we're judged, we're quick to remind those judging that no one is perfect, That we're "only human". I do believe that there are times when it's absolutely appropriate to judge another person, but we need to be realistic about the grounds on which we're judging. It is asinine to judge anyone based on factors over which they had no control. I feel safe in saying that no one in history has ever been able to determine before birth: Their nationality Their gender Their skin color Their appearance Their preferences Their degree of able-bodyness  To judge anyone on factors that they were born with is bigoted, racist, sexist, and irrational.  No one should be judged on how nature made them.  It is fair and reasonable, however, to judge others on their character, what they've made of the themselves with the tools

Blaming the victim

If I burn your house to the ground and then blame you for being homeless, is that reasonable? Is that fair? Is that sane? And yet that's precisely what some people do to those they perceive as "others".  From human's earliest days as social beings, the dominant group has not just subjugated their enemies, and enslaved those they conquered, but they made sure the subordinate people were denied any opportunity to achieve equality. In the Western world, tan-skinned people dominated people with any other color skin.  Out of fear that the tan-skinned people might one day become victims, treated like they treated others, they removed every method that others might use to conquer them. We've seen that same scenario play out in America.  Native Americans were denied rights and restricted to reservations chosen by the tan-skinned people, reservations in the harshest parts of the country, without the benefits afforded their conquerors, like decent educations, adequate medic

Words matter, or how you and I enable racism

  Racism, and its frequent corollary white supremacy, have been hot topics with me since high school in 1972. I belonged to a barbershop quartet (kids, ask your grandparents) that performed all over San Diego. My hometown wasn't exactly liberal, but it was a Navy town so people from everywhere were mixed together in neighborhoods and schools. Our quartet was asked to perform at a local Mormon church. After the performance, we were offered lunch. We all started to sit together when I was told that our bass, a wonderful black guy, would have to sit at another table. "Mixing" wasn't allowed. The four of us got up and walked out. My mom was very progressive, and so I grew up knowing racism was wrong. But after high school, I became a fervent anti-racist. I spoke out, I protested, I even used my radio show in college, an all-jazz station, to raise the topic with our primarily black audience. It took me quite a few years to realize that morality and humanity weren't the