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We Must Embrace Our Differences

Written by | November 29th, 2008

A thought occured to me last evening.

I was visiting a local restaurant and as with any Friday night, there were dozens of young people crammed into the dining room. Each seemed to be paired in groups of four, two guys and two gals. While there is nothing remarkable about this in particular, what did strike me as a significant change from the many years ago I would have done the same, is the number of mixed ethnicity couples. Of course I have no way of knowing whether any of the people were a couple as I didn’t take the time to observe them for clues about their romantic tendencies, but the fact they were paired as they were would lend to that perception.

I thought about this for a few minutes and I had to ask myself why I found it unusual. Had I been brought up to believe such things were not supposed to take place? Of course I hadn’t, and after some considerable thought, I believe I may have found an answer.

During my childhood and young adult life, the prospect of seeing couples of differing skin color was unusual, I can only remember two and they weren’t treated favorably by most people of the time. Since our reactions to events in life are mostly a learned response, perhaps I learned from an early age that mixed couples are treated harshly by society and as such, they are to be avoided. Maybe that is why I found this unusual and maybe that trend of ostracizing those who appear differently than ourselves is changing.

I find this refreshing and I take great pride in the fact that so many of our youth have the ability to see beyond differences that would have been frowned upon even 20 years ago. I challenge you to put away preconceived ideas and embrace a society that appears to be learning from our past failures.

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8 thoughts on “We Must Embrace Our Differences

  1. markross

    K,
    I agree! I have personal experience, in this area, as I dated a Asian girl for 5 years; her family was from China and Burma.

    We never really had a public problem, that I was aware of, however, I did experience the complete opposite of what you are saying here; that is, the prejudice was on her parent’s side.

    The mere fact that I was American, was more then enough for her dad to consistently insist that we parts ways. I must admit, that was a real culture shock to me, in my own city/country.

    One of my best friends, ever, is a black man; he actually trained me in Martial Arts, for several years. We worked together, in CC Philadelphia, in the eighties.

    I use to bring him to my dad’s house, and while my dad loved and welcomed him; back then, you could feel the stares coming from each window pane.

    I feel that America has advanced beyond these prejudices, for the most part; and perhaps, further then some other countries and cultures.

    Mark

    Reply
  2. LdyBelle

    My sister married a man of Filippino decent.. They had 4 beautiful daughters together.. I was young when they first married but my parents, especially my father had challenges with this union.. Not to say that this was right but certainly common back then… I do think we’ve come a long way since, but those sort of issues still do exist.. My nieces are the most beautiful girls I’ve ever seen and even in this day were teased of being “mixed”… I find it interesting that here in the US, dating/marrying out of race is more taboo than say in Europe… Mixed race couples, say in London, are of no concern – but yet if you marry/date out of class that is a different story.. A culture, not very different from our own (heck, where most of our ancestors came from) and we view things very differently… Maybe this is certainly more of a geographical issue as well ~

    Good point regarding the Prop 8 Mark! That just may be out debate of this generation ~

    Reply
  3. markross

    Heather,

    That is interesting about your nieces, and sad if they still take heat for it, in these days; I bet they are beautiful.

    In my case, I feel as though it was reverse discrimination, which does exist, in America, believe it or not.

    How about this one; I was/am a Jewish guy that grew up in a very

    Catholic neighborhood..need I go on? LOL.

    So, yes, I have heard every Jewish joke, in existence.

    As a youngster, I asked, WHY? Why did I have to be born Jewish? I was ashamed of it, even resented it; as fate/faith would have it, I came to be extremely thankful for it; now, I even consider it a blessing.

    Sometimes we are put in situations, not knowing why we are put there, however, as times goes on, and with faith, the answers are revealed to us.

    Ahh, yes Prop 8; Heather, I actually have a gay friend, who nows lives in another state; however, he was always a good friend; though I could never fathom being gay, myself, I have always respected his decision to be gay, and regardless, I will always consider him one of my best friends.

    There were even times when I was asked if I was gay, merely because I was friends with him; I'm sure that does not come as a surprise?

    So, with all that has been going on, with Prop 8, I decided to e-mail him, and ask him his feelings on it; it was very interesting to read his reply.

    It certainly is the moral/civil rights issue of our time.

    Mark

    Reply
  4. LdyBelle

    We can sometimes be judged by the company we keep, eh?

    My sister, never married, is sometimes thought to be gay.. I get asked that question one too many times and it frustrates me a little.. First, what is it of their business and secondly, because she is older and unmarried, one assumes that you are gay??? Seriously. A male friend of mine, never married as well, friends ask me if he is gay… It doesn't end…

    Just because you haven't found the right person and aren't "settling" just to be with someone doesn't mean you are gay..

    Judgements are cast too easily, which is completely and utterly wrong…

    "He can cast the first stone are those who are without sin"

    I may have gotten that verse incorrect, but the thought is there… Who are we to judge others? God is the only one who can….

    Reply
  5. markross

    Yes, LdyBelle, it is very sad, indeed.
    However, it would be even more sad if we were to succumb to the narrow mindedness of others, in this case, and just settle, or change (fold) due to public opinion. Stereotypical people, in my mind, can be a bunch of robots that simply hear, and they obey.

    I can respect anyone who does not settle or succumb; it is the independent-minded thinker that is often the most respected, and sadly, at times, the most disliked of people.

    I love that scripture that you just alluded to! Excellent!

    —-

    It is this:
    John 8:7 (King James Version)

    So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

    John 8:7 (New International Version)

    But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”

    —-

    They were about to stone a woman for committing adultery, which was the practice of the day, however, Jesus, in all of his infinite wisdom, spoke those amazingly profound words.

    We are all human, we all fall short, and fail at times; we all hurt people sometimes, even unintentionally. However, as you are saying, “if we judge others, they we must willing to be judged”.

    Mark

    Reply
  6. understone

    LdyBelle..I've observed the same thing with people, although not towards me directly.  If you aren't married or have children or in a relationship, people often become suspect.  They see these activities as "normal" and if you aren't doing what's normal, something must be "wrong".  I'm not sure what the connection is between not being in a relationship and being gay but I see people often jump to these conclusions.  Certainly gay people sometimes live in the closet, but suggesting that this is the case based off of that alone is just pure speculation.  They could simply not engage in these "normal" activities because they are picky, not interested, depressed, or any other vast number of things.  I don't see as being considered as possibly gay being an insult – I just see it as pure speculation which is based on certain bias.

    Reply
  7. understone

    This country has come along way with equal rights and still has room for improvement.  There is still much bigotry out there.  But looking at other parts of the world, it can be even worse.

    Reply

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